Sweet as a Peach
When it comes to my dogs, I’m not one to tell stories. More often than not, they speak for themselves. However, I feel like I have a pretty good story to tell.
My smallest dog is a Pomeranian named Peach. She’s always been a fragile pup, but also a great survivor. Her recovery from a broken leg and massive bladder stones alone would make her one of the strongest dogs I’ve known. But about a year ago, she became a living miracle.
It happened just after we moved. The movers had taken a lunch break, and after returning, they knocked at the door. The dogs ran to meet the visitors, always eager, and began their usual series of jumps and spins. As I got up to open the door, one of my dogs began crying in pain. It was little Peach.
She didn’t stop when I picked her up, and didn’t stop when I put her down. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand, couldn’t do anything but cry. I was terrified. We slipped on our shoes and hurried out the front door without so much as an explanation for the movers, rushing over to the animal hospital in the next town.
After what felt like hours, a veterinary assistant came out from the back of the hospital, my baby still in her arms. She told us that Peach had ruptured two of her spinal disks. According to the veterinarian, surgery was the only option. It was experimental and more expensive than we could afford, but they gave us the night to think about it, meanwhile keeping Peach for observation.
When we returned the next day, we were devastated. There did not seem to be anything we could do for Peach. We asked to see her one last time. The assistant who brought her out began telling us about her own dog who had suffered something amazingly similar. Rather than struggle to pay for surgery, she had opted for medication and acupuncture. The dog, she said, wound up happy and healthy and able to walk on three of its legs. I was sure that this could work for Peach.
When we began the medication, we were told that the best results we could hope for were that her front legs would recover, and we could put her in a cart. They said that her back legs were supposed to be permanently paralyzed.
For the first two weeks, we had to keep Peach in a small pen, only taking her out to go outside and to brush her. During this time, we began looking into carts, when a friend slipped us the name of a chiropractor who worked with animals as well as with humans. As soon as we could let her out of the pen, we took Peach to the chiropractor’s office.
The first appointment came with little hope, but the second visit showed small signs of nerve recovery. After three weeks, Peach was standing. After a month, she could take steps.
Slowly, the appointments went from weekly visits to bi-monthly, to monthly visits, and finally to every-other month. After a couple of months, Peach began walking.
Today, Peach can run and play with her sisters. Although we have to watch Sofi (our puppy) to make sure that Peach doesn’t jump on or off the couch, she has resumed a rather regular life. There are some limitations to how much her body can handle, and her rear muscle mass has shrunk substantially, but she is the same little dog I know and love. From the brink of death to daily walks, she is a living miracle and is my inspiration.
The moral? I’m not sure that there is one. I was really hoping that this would be as inspirational to you as it has been for me. But if I had to pick a conclusion, I would say never to give up on a dog. I spent weeks brushing Peach, rotating her hips, forcing pills down her throat, and piping water into her. It wasn’t easy, but she deserved every chance in life, as does every other dog. Whether that means adoption, extra attention, special doctors, or whatever. It’s all worth it!
Every dog deserves the longest, richest, fullest life they can get. I know that I have done and will keep doing my best with Peach, and she’s turning out to be fantastic!