Thursday, July 26, 2012

Neck works!

Guess who sat up on his own and turned his head!!! Over and over and over tonight!  So far he has only turned his head to the right...but we'll get there!  He lifted his head up and held it all on his own and then turned it very very slowly to the right at first.. and then he got faster at doing it.. still no speed demon.. but he's definitely controlling that movement!

Poor little guy is now getting so frustrated that he can't move more. He'll work until he's exhausted...

Max at work

Max now has a "desk" and a "chair" and he goes to work and does squats... on his own!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Max in Action!

We just had some bad storms come through and I left Max in my office to go find the cat... the other dogs followed me. When I came back to my office, Max was working on trying to get up and follow. He looked like he was in a little bit of a panic that he was left alone!!! (good sign!)

As promised... some videos of Max working out... (please excuse any shaking of the camera - it's a bit challenging to video tape and support Max as well!)

Max having a drink of water:

Max working on his walking exercises

Max working out:

Max standing on his own... and then taking a well deserved rest!

The Karate Dog!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Max Update 7-22-2012

Today is Sunday July 22, 2012.  Max has had quite a weekend!

He went on a roadtrip and spent the weekend away with his mom, for the last 2 days he's been able to consistently drink water when it's been fed to him by a feeding syringe.

 (For those who are reading this blog because you have a pet in a similar situation - don't try this unless your pet is already swallowing on their own when they have a high level of naturally produced saliva in their mouth, also only give very small amounts and make sure to aim the syringe away from the back of the throat towards the front of them mouth, by inserting in the side of the mouth angled towards the front teeth. You Absolutely positively do not want to do this int he other direction because you may end up drowning your patient.)

This afternoon I was also able to give Max some very watered down food by mouth as well and he swallowed it down.  He's already getting very watered down food because it has to go through his feeding tube, but I watered it down even further.I only gave him 1.5ml to start with ... we'll keep practicing. 

He has also been pretty consistent about being able to push his rear end up in the air on his own if he has something to push against. He still has his left rear leg signifantly stronger than the right but the right one can push up now and hold it's own.. The left one can now hold his body up... I am realizing I may have been pre-mature to buy the small bean bag chair and put him on that.. but he's definitely ready for it now and we tried again this afternoon.. It's still too big for him to get his front legs on the ground but he was able to lay over the top of it and with his back legs he was able to push up and actually stand up and he was trying to move forward... If anyone has seen Faith The Dog who walks on her hind 2 legs... Max is reminding me a lot of her.. His stomach is very strong and he moves his stomach like Faith does when she walks. I actually had the opportunity to meet Ms. Faith the dog a number of years ago in Chicago at an HHBacker Tradeshow!   She's quite a super dog! And definitely an inspiration!

Anyway... so in addition to leaning on the beanbag chair and pushing his legs and being able to stand there longer than I could sit behind him ... Max is now working on holding that head up... He has such a big smart brain that his head is still pretty heavy, but he was working on it!!!

Sorry I don't have any new photos.. He is so much more active it's hard to get photos and videos while I'm holding him up but I'll try and see what I can do.. 

Anyway - all progress and good news and Max is still working super hard! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some inspiration

A very special thanks to Jo for sending this inspirational video to us about Fraser!!!

Frasier's Story:
This is Fraser, a nine year old Basset Hound mix whom has suffered a stroke. His body was left paralyzed; he could not even lift his head. These video clips were taken less than two months after his stroke. Fraser has been spending 6 days a week at Mission Veterinary Hospital with Dr. Susan Calverley overseeing his rehabilitation. With daily rehab exercises, perseverance, acupuncture, and loving owners, we have great expectations for Fraser. We have also learned a great deal about the human-animal bond for this would not have happened without it..

Out of the Comfort Zone

You know how they say you have to put yourself in situations where you get out of your comfort zone to test your limits and push yourself?  Well... It works for Max!

This morning was a very rare morning for Max.  Despite his situation, I can can't how many accidents he's had on 1 hand... but this morning I woke up at 5am and he had tinkled in his bed so I cleaned him up, put down new pee pads, just in case and as soon as I lay him down.. he went again!  Being that it was 5am.. I wasn't really in the mood to go through the whole sponge bath thing again, so I carried him into the bathroom, filled the tub up about 1 inch at the deepest part and lay him in there (non-feeding tube side down of course) and held his head up and washed him.

Let me just say, Max has ALWAYS HATED.. HATED ...Hated... being in the water.. He'll run and play on the shore of the beach and maybe get his feet wet on a really hot day, but he'll run from the waves.. He was less than thrilled to be in the tub. Those arms and legs were kicking and pushing and he even lifted his head up and held it up on his own, higher than my hands were holding it up. He wanted out and was making no bones about what he wanted!

Anyway - he's clean now.. The thing he hates next to water is the hair dryer and he got a good dose of that this morning too... 

We may need to give him another bath as part of his therapy if that's how he responds!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Head movement!

So... Max has a bit of an eye infection... the gross green and yellow kind.  If that's not bad enough.. his eyes are a little sunken from the prednisone too... Anyway... I was putting his eye drops and antibiotic ointment in his eyes and he pulled his head away.. Then again... and again... and again. Each time a drop was about to go in he'd pull his head away, so I finally grabbed my camera (Unfortunately I can't put eye drops in and film at the same time so it takes a while to catch him moving his head, but he does move it for the camera...  )  Baby steps!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

2 New tricks in a day!

I don't normally post so much but Mr. Max has been on a roll today!  Not only did he start turning his head to the right this morning... but tonight, while he was working out and doing his left sided push ups.. (we really need to get that right side in shape)  He started to use his tail as leverage, or maybe it's balance???  to try and move himself around.

Now I'm really really excited about this!  His head and his tail both starting to move on the same day.. but I quickly found out that this could be a problem, as Max scooched himself back and further back and actually backed over his feeding tube, got it stuck under him and kept trying to scooch back further and started to pull it out!!!  I'm going to need to figure out how to tape it to his back! I'm still wondering if all the activity of this weekend is helping to get him moving again. He went on a road trip and has been bounced all over the place and flipped and twisted and flopped... Anyway - he's something else... that Maxy Boy!!!  I do have to say here that there are days where he just looks like he's done.  Yesterday was one of those days.. Dr. Lord asked me the other day if I was noticing any patterns which I'm grateful she did. I have started to notice he's more aware and active every other day.. One day he's "on" and working hard, and the next day he looks like he's going to cash in his chips .. and the very next day he's stronger than he was 2 days ago.. Every so often it'll take 2 off days and then a good on day.  He seems to learn a new trick - be it a small trick every week and a half to two weeks.. hopefully we'll start seeing more and more.  It's SLOW... being at home and taking care of him, it's definitely SLOW... but it's still progress and when he's working I see him working SO hard, I just have to give him a chance. He's definitely a super dog and aside from my impatience with the speed he's progressing, this has been a lot easier than I even thought it was going to be as far as Max going to the bathroom, feeding, medicine, etc..   The first few days were really tough - but once I got the whole feeding tube thing down and stopped spray painting the walls, windows, ceiling, myself, and anyone else around with pureed Wuruvu   it became a whole lot easier!  Max now spends a good hour or so sitting on my lap every day while I watch TV.. his rear end is on my leg with his legs hanging down and he props up on his elbos on my other leg (my leg by his back legs has to be lower so he doesn't aspirate anything from his tummy) and then he rests his head in the crux of my arm, and he gets coupaged, pet and snuggled with.  The other dogs have started to come around him more and more too. He doesnt' have his facecloth in his mouth any more either.. I had to give him a face cloth to grit in his teeth last week becasue he had pierced his tongue with his teeth in 4 places. He had the face cloth in his mouth for about 4-5 days. The holes have actually healed up!  He has a few nibs out of the side of his tongue but all in all.. not too bad, and he has more control over his jaw and his head so he's more gentle when he's opening and closing his mouth. He's yawning too and cleaning his face when his nose runs. Today was also the first day that his nose has been cold and wet and not dry and crusty!!!  I know the prednisone will dry him out too, so I was chalking it up to that.. and was kind of surprised at the cold wet nose! Anyway - had to share!

We have some head movement!!!

Today is Monday, July 9, 2012... Almost 1 month since Max came on on June 14th.  Today I  am happy to report that we finally have some more head movement! I was beginning to give up hope.  Perhaps Max is just good and tired of all the manhandling, and flipping and flopping around he's had over the last few days.. (He went on a road trip this weekend)

This morning after I got him up, fed him, he went to the bathroom, etc.. I left him in bed on his stomach in a straight line, and his head propped up on his travel pillow (which I originally bought so I could lay him on the side that his feeding tube port is on.. but as it turns out that is an EXCELLENT head and neck support for someone who has no neck control!). I took #2 out for his run and when I came back, Max's body was still in the straight position, although his head (and the pillow) were completely turn to the right towards the door. (Have no idea if he meant to look at the door or not but that was where he was facing.)

I thought he must have accidentally moved his head, until I had moved him into the living room and was getting him situated and I kept putting his head in a straight line with his body and then he'd push his head to the right.  I would put it back in a straight line and he'd push it back to the right again. Then I held his head in my head, with his head resting on top of my hand and I could feel the muscles in his neck moving and his head turned to the right. He repeated this a bunch of times before he got tired of it and closed his eyes.

And now that I think about it, twice yesterday, while I was hanging out with him, he actually lifted the top of his head up to yawn, not just his lower jaw.

I've spent the last few days, making him do things that make him move his neck - like tickling his nose until he sneeze, and a few times he'd move his head away before I'd even touch his nose, and giving him wet willies so he'd shake his head. These are all reflex actions but they still use the muscles and I thought maybe that might help remind the muscles what they are supposed to do.

It's a start... everything is a start!  But he keeps getting a tiny bit stronger with each thing and I realize we have to practice a lot! It does take a lot of time out of the day to work with him as much as he needs, and I don't always get the chance to do it as much as he needs but sure do try. I wish there was a good doggie rehab center close by where they could work with him all day long to get those muscles going again.. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hard Workout today!

Again Max woke me up with a good swift kick to the side!  He wanted to keep kicking .. and in fact he did for about 4 hours this morning!!!

I'm still waiting to hear back from the guy who makes the body slings.. but realized I had something that could help in the house already.. When I took Max up to NY for Cyber knife treatments, I bought these long thin yellow pillows to use as bumpers in the car so he wouldn't bang around.. They just happen to be perfect for him to lie on top of with his arms and legs down at the side so he's almost in a standing position.  As soon as I put him on top of it, he relaxed and went to sleep though!  Must finally be comfortable for him!  I woke him up to work a little more and he used his left side to push himself over on his right side.. Left side is twice as strong as the right since he's been laying on the right more because of the feeding tube.. Hopefully this pillow will help change that and he'll be able to start pushing with both legs.. It'll make acupuncture easier I bet! and he's definitely more comfortable right now!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

3 out of 4 legs are working!

Just a quick post!  Max has control over 3 of his 4 legs now and can push himself around if he tries hard enough.  He has managed to wiggle himself off of his bed a couple of times!  He's working really hard and every few hours I'll look over and he's trying to get more strength and control over his limbs.  His left side is the strongest.  May have something to do with him spending more time on his right side because his feeding tube is on his left side (he  has been rotating between sternal and on his right side) But now that the port has healed significantly He's being rotated on all sides. He can change his position when he's sternal, and when he's on his right side. He's a little stuck at the moment when he's on his left side.

He's also been grunting when he "works out" and today I finally put him up against a wall so he had something to push off of. I think the satisfaction of him knowing he has some control over his body's actions again is really motivating him.

Remember nothing is impossible!  Years ago at a pet industry tradeshow I met an amazing dog named Faith!  Maybe you've seen her on TV or YouTube Videos or emails. She's an amazing 2 legged dog who had to learn to do things differently from other dogs. She has managed to live a perfectly normal life, except she's become somewhat of a celebrity in the world of dog lovers!  Give any dog a chance and you'll learn they can do amazing things!

To learn more about Faith the Dog visit