This beautiful girl is my precious Sasha. I’ve been blessed to have her in my life for almost eleven years now since I adopted her from the Humane Society in Longmont, Colorado. She is now 14 years old and as gorgeous and sweet and smart as ever. Over the last year, I had noticed she was having some trouble with one of her back legs but both the vet and I chalked that up to her advancing age. As the year progressed, it got worse and then recently, when both back legs began to have issues it was apparent that this was not normal aging.
Sasha has canine degenerative myelopathy – a chronic, progressive, neurological disease that affects the German Shepherd breed more than others. She is becoming paralyzed – first one leg, then the other and finally to the rest of her body.
Sasha was an abused dog when she was young – chained up all day, under-fed and who knows what else. I don’t know who did the abusing – if it was a nasty breeder or just some other sick freak of a human being. I do know now that breeders are very aware of this disease but breed animals with the mutated gene anyway. Sasha and I are lucky it did not affect her until this advanced age. It can happen years sooner. (Please don’t let that discourage you from adopting one of these amazing animals – I wouldn’t trade her for the world!)
Watching Sasha adapt to what is happening to her is one of the most difficult yet inspiring things I’ve ever had to do. She doesn’t fuss about it. She is fully determined to go out for walks and pull herself upstairs to where she is used to sleeping at night and she still eagerly “greets” the UPS and Fedex guys at the door. There is so much life in her still!
Now that the initial shock of what this disease is going to do to my best friend has worn off, I am determined to help her have the best life possible for the remaining time she has. In addition to some simpler household changes, Sasha will need a cart to help her go for walks to keep her healthy and that is my new Christmas project.
To give her the focus she needs, I will be traveling less (or not at all unless I can find a great in-home caretaker) and there will be fewer photos. (I would take tons of photos of my sweet girl but she is crazy afraid of the camera. I’m lucky to have snuck a few in here and there.)
I just wanted to let you all know what is going on. Sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately. I will try to do better. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!