You can chronicle Sampson back to 2002, but let's start with his back problems. It was early in 2010 when we first became aware of his spondylosis. He was exhibiting some crazy symptoms, including some trouble with mobility. We found that disease on x-rays--the same disease that took our Angel-girl--and we found it the same way, with x-rays for strange symptoms. We made some adjustments--crate downstairs, better attention to gentle exercise, etc. Because of his crazy tummy problems, we couldn't go the long-term pain meds route. That's when we started acupuncture. It was AMAZING. He literally went from not being able to go up and down stairs, to RUNNING all around the back yard like a crazy man. Good times.
I can't believe that was two years ago...
He started to regress a little bit last year--maybe springish timeframe. I was worried. I even had family portraits taken at our house because I began to fear if I didn't do them soon, we may not have the opportunity to take them with Sampson. Then, all of the sudden, at the same time his left foot began to drag to the point we needed his "boot" to keep his toes from bleeding, he perked up. I didn't get it--but I loved it. He went back to playing like a crazy fool in the mornings, talking to me when he woke up, kidney bean dancing better than any boxer, running laps around the yard, taking steps and jumps with no problem, and kissing me with his big sloppy boxer mouth.
Until now, I didn't make the connection...
The degenerative myelopathy (DM) is what causes the foot to drag. It is indicative of his spinal nerves "dying." Without nerves, there's no pain. It's painless.
This horrible disease that I curse on a daily basis, that makes my old man wobble, that makes his legs drag and cross, that renders him unable to run has taken away his pain.
Now, I'm not going to go so far as to call DM a blessing in disguise, but I will say that this connection now makes sense. Unfortunately, it's progressed to the point that he can't kidney bean dance for me...or run...or walk normally. But, for a moment in time--MONTHS of time--I now believe that it gave me my Sampson back--in full strength. It took away his spondylosis pain--pain that can be excruciating--pain that can make a dog suffer to the point that no responsible human would allow. Maybe, just maybe, DM gave me more time with my Sampson.
|Sampson in the sun, Fall 2011|