Today is National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day, a day that evokes so many emotions for me. Having shared my life with two dogs in carts, I know firsthand the joy, pain and strife that comes with these special needs pups.
Both my Boxers suffered from a disease called Degenerative Myelopathy; a progressively paralyzing disease in dogs that is akin to ALS in humans. This disease tightened the already close bond I had with my best pup-friends while opening the doors to passions and paths I never saw coming.
The first passion was prevention – so I became a health conscious Boxer breeder. Never in a million years did I think I would take hand in the creation of someone else’s best friend but it’s what I felt I had to do to save the breed with which I was smitten.
The second passion was to become a pet first aid and CPR instructor. I was using
first aid daily on my pups and wanted to share this knowledge with anyone and everyone that shared their lives with pets. Diseases and accidents are going to continue to happen to our pets and it is up to us to learn how to make their lives better. This lead me down the road of becoming an instructor, then realizing that the best person with the most experience saving pets lives – a veterinarian – should be the one to teach such a course. The ProPetHero course does just that and it does it amazingly well.
The third passion that was brought about by my
wheelie dogs was support and awareness. There was less support when I was going through this 6 years ago but what was there, was tremendous. I have made lifelong friends through the struggle and still stay extremely active in the DM communities. In fact one of my pet care clients is going through this right now with her Rhodesian and I will be there for her like others were for me.
So next time you see a dog in a cart, don’t judge but rather smile. Someone loves that dog enough to give them a second chance. My boys ran freely on beaches, experienced such joy of extra people attention and got to spend more time with me because of their disability. It was of course heartbreaking and as I write this I am welled up with tears – but it was a journey for which I am grateful.
Take a second and hug your pup today, for tomorrow could be different. Also take some time to really think about what you will do when a disease or an accident happens, will you be ready? Be their hero, because aren’t they really and truly your super hero?