Deafror Maia and Isaac,
If I knew what I was getting into, I probably never would have adopted Sazi. Fortunately, Maizzy and Kachina had taught me enough about dogs that I was able to take on this special-needs bundle of joy. I don’t even know why I got a 3rd dog, really. I thought we might make a good foster home because Kachina did so well with Maizzy. I was also working from home and maybe needed something new to focus on since it was pretty isolating
Anyway, like with Kachina, it was another one of those Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary Facebook posts that drew me in. There was a little dog who Debbie was called to take from a social services case. It was a sad story and suffice it to say Sazi came from isolation and poverty. Debbie’s posts told the story of a little dog so scared that she had to be caught with a blanket and would not come our of her carrier except at night for food. She was both cute and ugly from the few photos that Debbie was able to post. Well, I thought, maybe a month or two in a home environment would help socialize her. So, I said I would foster her.
Like Kachina, Sazi arrived in a crate. In fact, I picked her up Labor Day weekend on the way home from camping. When Kachina came, she shook in her carrier. Sazi was more like the Tazmanian Devil. It is a good thing she has no teeth. I brought the crate in and set it on the floor. Kachina tried to say hi – but Sazi just snapped back. Poor Kachina did not like Sazi for a long time after that.
It didn’t take long before I could pick Sazi up because I figured out she was incredibly food motivated. Too food motivated. She was obese and filthy. Her nails were severly overgrown.She would attack anyone who even looked at her, let alone tried to touch her. I began to realize this was way more than socialization. As withe Kachina, I began walking Sazi everyday to help with her anxiety and weight issues. I put her on a diet with lots of veggie treats. I took her to the vet for a dental and a spay.Two months later, I decided to keep her because it became obvious that she was unadoptable (my original goal was to fix her for the Sanctuary’s Senior Whiskers program) and that she had experienced a very hard life. Even Kachina began to take to her.
The road got even more difficult when we returned from our first trip together. We had gone to Moab for the President’s Day Weekend and hiked. Sazi did “ok” with it, she was getting better being around people at a distance. We got back and she began acting funny – she wouldn’t climb the stairs or use her stool to get up on the couch. She just barked and waited for me to lift her. I wasn’t really sure what was causing the issue, but Kachina watched over her like a hawk and I knew there was something wrong with her.
She was first misdiagnosed as having a vision issue – and during the eye exam she fought the vet hard. Well, I put her down and she couldn’t walk right. “Drunken sailor” walk they call it. I showed the vet, who said to rest her but it was mostly a blindness issue. A week later, she was worse and I had done some research. I took her back to the vet to get a better diagnosis – and she was started on the IVDD meds. The vet was pretty pessimistic about her outcome. I was determined.
I rested her for 8 weeks – full crate rest. I took her for stroller rides and eventually she road in a front carrier on walks. When we were all done, she got a fairly clean bill of health from the vet. She pretty much resumed her normal life with some restrictions. That went on for about 6 months and I think she flew off the couch (I had returned to on-ground work from an office) when UPS showed up. She had a second “flair” and we did the crate rest thing, again. Results were good – she did drag one back foot when she got tired.
Come spring, we were hiking more and she broke both back nails. I assumed it was another flair and put her on rest. I was getting her out of her purse carrier after our walk one Sunday and I dropped her. I was stressed from work and she got interested in food she saw and wiggled in my arms when I wasn’t paying attention. She fell to the cement porch out of my arms. It was one of those moments I won’t forget – her head hit and she had a little seizure. I thought that was it – I would have to euthanize her. But, she came-to quickly. She was so mad . . . I picked her up and she snapped and growled. I put her down inside and she drug her back legs behind her. I was horrified.
We saw the vet as an emergency, started her on rest and meds. This time the IVDD seemed more real, though – like those stories from the internet sites. I had to express her bladder and she couldn’t stand up. I bought her a soft crate and took her everywhere in that. We did lazer therapy – which she tolerated if she got treats. She was able to stand a little within a few days. I went camping that weekend and took her in her crate. She started wagging her tail that trip so I had hope for recovery.
We camped every weekend and took a roadtrip through Utah that summer. Each trip (summer 19), I saw improvement. I was bound and determined that this blog would document her recovery over that summer. And, pretty much, it did. She was walking and running, but still incontentent at summer’s end. She also had an odd gait, but it didn’t stop her.
One thing you need to know about Sazi is that she is an imp. She is a little mischief-maker. For a dog that is now 11, she acted like a puppy in many ways. So, when we got home from our last camping trip of 2019, I left her with the other dogs in the yard and went to plant a yucca that I had just purchased on our trip. I was stressed about work, again, and probably not payine enough attention. I went to check on the dogs – there were Kachina and Maizzy where I left them, but no Sazi. I started searching frantically and calling her. The woman across the street called back to me (right across from where I planted the yucca) and she said she had Sazi. I saw a limp dog wrapped in a towel in her arms. She told me she had been hit by a car. My heart sunk.
I ran and got her from the kind woman. I brought her in the house. She was unresponsive and in a strange breathing pattern. I am thinking euthanasia, again – as is the vet I spoke with. However, I knew Sazi would rather die at home and she didn’t seem to be in pain. So, I told the vet that I would wait and watch at home. I left her in her crate and went about my business. At one point, the door blew shut and she lifted her head. Within a few minutes, she started to wake up. I put her carrier ont he couch next to me and she was MAD at me as she started to feel the pain. But, she was hungry so I could lure her with food if needed. We saw the vet the next day and started . . . you guessed it . . . rest and meds.
This time was different. We didn’t know for sure if it was a disk or other injuries. But she hurt everywhere. She didn’t tolerate stroller or carrier rides as well as the last episode, but she could walk pretty well. Over the eight weeks, she improved and could walk, again. Now, however, it was winter and I was working long hours, so rehab was difficult. By spring, when we started hiking again, I could see that she just couldn’t lift the back leg well enough to keep up. I invested in wheels that I taught her to use with food lures. She lost weight and got stronger. She is now taking short walks without the wheels, again – and no broken nails.
My home has changed over the time I have had Sazi. I have dog playpens (she sleeps in one and I now have one for Maizzy, too). I have baby gates everywhere and the yard is more secure. If I left the baby gate open accidently, Sazi would sneek downstairs looking for treats. So, I got an inexpensive motion detector that is on doorbell mode and put it on the stairs. She is terrified of the noise and won’t go near the stairs now.
It has been almost 1.5 years since she was hit and we are doing OK. She is still a barker and won’t let people touch her (unless she has a treat). But, all in all, she is a happy little imp. I think she is happier partially paralized than she was when I forst adopted her. And, I have gotten some amature dog groomer skills because she doesn’t stay hygenic and she won’t let the groomer touch her! I have not given up hiking, camping or travel because I have a disabled dog. Actually, Maizzy is also disabled now – so I still go but I am a bit slower right now.