Early on Saturday morning of the Memorial Day weekend I received an email about a paraplegic corgi in great need. Putting my plans aside I drove to South Carolina and picked up Chip a 43 pound corgi with Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). After being checked out at the vets he came home and I quickly remembered the “rules” of fostering:
1. The first days are stressful – both for the dog and for the foster family.
Chip spent most of the first week hiding in his ex-pen or in the corner by the front door. My own dogs who are used to “canine visitors” were treading carefully, not quite certain of what was going on. Me, not wanting to play into Chips attention seeking or was it apprehension, fed, expressed and cleaned him but otherwise let him be.
2. The Grace Period.
By day 5 Chip decided that things were OK and started to explore. He was on his best behavior, nice to the other dogs although ornery to me when I was expressing him or cleaning him. Some of this was pain related, afterall Chip was only a week out from his disk injury. Having spoken to the vet and got Chip on stronger pain medications (gabapentin, tramadol) plus medications to help relax his bladder (phenoxybenzamine and diazepam) the situation rapidly improved.
3. Settling In.
By the start of the second week Chip started showing his Corgi colors, jostling for position in the pack, behaving like a typical Corgi, trying to herd (bully) my dogs. While the Labs and Shepherds didn’t take much notice, my Heeler, being another herding breed did not take kindly to the interloper. Both have remained on their best behavior but every day make a point of sitting next to each other with heads back barking for several minutes. Thankfully expressing and cleaning was becoming less of a battle and more of a routine.
4. Getting kitted out.
Being paralyzed Chip needed protection for his feet and a cart. Boots weren’t a problem, although skin damage from him lying in the same position when he weighed so much were. Adding socks under boots, extra padding to Chips bed, removing his boots while confined, and changing the position of his hind legs every few hours did the trick. As for the cart … some dogs do great, others tolerate carts and some refuse to use them. Initially Chip wasn’t too certain, standing with his head down and ears back. Once he figured out the cart allowed him to herd the other dogs more effectively everything changed and now there’s no stopping him.
Five weeks on Chip is not in pain, is used to being expressed, has improved mobility and is ready for his forever home. To find out more visit: Chips Adoption Page