… is that they don’t live forever.
We adopted Quinn (the corgi) in 2015. At the time he officially brought our menagerie up to 3 dogs, all 8 years old or older. The rescue we got him from wasn’t 100% sure on his age, their vet said around 7, but our vet thought closer to 9. So… we just went with 8.
We specifically sought out an older dog from the rescue, knowing that they are harder for them to place. Indeed the rescue hadn’t even bothered listing Quinn, because he was both older and deaf and came to them with a horrid skin condition (he had been surrendered by his owner to the local shelter, so no one really had any information about him. They didn’t even tell the shelter his freakin’ name, only that he was aggressive towards their kids.). When we applied and specifically asked for a senior dog, he was offered to us.
He’s definitely a total weirdo that was NOT socialized properly, but we love him all the same. He’s been a good dog overall, and he especially excelled in his very part time gig as a mobile tack shop greeter.
We’ve had him for 5 years now, so he’s somewhere between 12 and 14. We’ve never really had any problems with him (aside from nasty teeth and the fact that trying to bathe him or clip his nails is akin to wrestling a grizzly bear) until he started to show some loss of mobility and feeling in a hind foot last year. For corgis especially that’s a biiiiiiiiiiig warning bell. And unfortunately the warning bell turned out to be right – he has DM.
Being a pembroke corgi of likely questionable breeding/origin, this isn’t such a surprise. It’s pretty common within the breed, and something I knew could happen. It is a progressive eventually fatal disease, so in the past few months I’ve made it my job to find out as much as I can and connect with others who have experience dealing with it.
The good and bad thing about it being so common with corgis is that there is a lot of support out there to be had. Facebook groups, websites, books… you name it. I bought a book, joined a couple facebook groups, and started looking at what we could do to help him out. He’s lost most of the mobility of both hind limbs now, so he can’t really walk unassisted, he mostly just scoots. We started looking at wheelchairs, but $500+ is a lot to plunk down for something that will get relatively short-term use IF he will even adapt to it and use it at all. Through a facebook group I found CorgiAid, a 501c that helps fund rescues, but also runs a wheelchair rental program. We applied, sent his measurements, paid the deposit and shipping, and now have a cart coming for him. If it works and he uses it, we’ll look at buying one for him.
Through a facebook group I was also able to procure an EZ lift harness, which should help make the short outside bathroom trips easier. Right now we just have to hold his hind legs kinda wheelbarrow style and toodle around the yard with him. I’m excited to get the harness and see how it works.
He still has some motion and feeling in the hind limbs, just not enough to move them on his own in a coordinated effort. Most importantly, though, he’s still very happy and bright. As long as that’s the case we’ll continue exploring ways to help keep him that way. We’re trying to keep him as mobile as “usual” for as long as we can. The good news is that while DM is totally devastating, it isn’t painful. Still, we won’t let him get to the point where he’s completely paralyzed and unable to move on his own.
Thanks to the book and online resources I think I have a pretty good idea of what to expect going forward and how to deal with it, which makes me feel slightly better. It makes me sad to know that the writing is on the wall, so to speak, for Quinn, and now it’s really just a matter of time. We lost Delia, one of the other seniors, a year ago yesterday, and neither of us is really quite ready for that again. Knowing there’s nothing we can do to change it, we’re just trying not to dwell on it.
For now Quinn is really enjoying getting to spend more time on the couch, having me sneak him extra treats, and sleeping in that california king that we really bought mostly so he would have ample bed space. ❤