It's been a rough few days, all due to this crazy girl.
Penny is our rescue English Setter. We found her in the shelter we volunteered for, where she had been picked up as a stray. She was skin and bones, extremely underweight, but full of hope and love. All she wanted to do was find that home that would take her with them and treat her well.
I had just gone through some hard losses myself, and was struggling. But when I saw Penny, I knew she belonged with me. Her soulful, sad eyes peered at me through the bars of her kennel, where she would press as closely to them as possible, to be closer to people.
So I brought her home with the intention of fostering her, but then quickly realized the only home good enough for her in my opinion, was my own. She put on weight, and soon began to come out of her scared shell, getting into all sorts of mishaps and mischief.
She's been slowing down some now, with more white on her face than red, but still has that same spirit - so stubborn.
Then on Saturday night, Billy and I came home from just a few hours out, and it was obvious something was wrong. She couldn't walk or stand up without losing her balance and falling over. She was turning in circles over and over, and her head was tilted to one side. We decided to keep her still and calm for the night and see how she was in the morning. Well, after a sleepless night by all of us, morning came, and Penny seemed about the same. I was heartbroken. I called my brother and sister-in-law, told them what was happening, and asked them to please come over. I thought we were going to have to say goodbye to this sweet girl, and I needed Devin and Chrissy with us. They agreed to come with heavy hearts - then bounced through our door minutes later. Chrissy had found that dogs who suffer a stroke usually recover pretty completely within a short period of time. She said to just give it time, and take her to the regular vet the next day. Of course since I didn't really want to have to make a hard decision, and even in the short time she had been up had shown she was doing better, I agreed quickly.
So after a Sunday of watching over Penny, helping her walk around obstacles, up and down stairs, being carried down them when Billy was home, we noticed she really was improving. The next day, I made a vet appointment, and throughout the day I noticed she kept improving.
At the vet, we got the official diagnosis of Canine Vestibular Syndrome, which is apparently an inner ear disorder that sometimes just happens, no rhyme or reason for it. There is no treatment but time, and the vet said that Penny was already ahead of the curve, and improving quickly. The vet also told us that she should recover 95-100%, with maybe only her head tilt remaining, although he said that could go away as well. He said the hardest thing with the disorder is actually convincing the owners to give the animals time, because it looks so horrible, and they think their pet is suffering. Just like we did. I wasn't hard to convince, maybe because I am an optimist at heart. Maybe because I know my dog is a tough old bird(dog) who has been through her fair share and come out the other side. And so we have our girl still, shaky and unsteady, but getting better everyday. We keep her confined at night, as our biggest battle we are fighting with her is keeping her from jumping on the couch in her condition. She loves the couch, and doesn't want to give it up. So when Billy gets home, she gets a little couch time, where Billy lifts her onto the couch, and when she is ready, he puts her back down safely on the ground.
It might take a little time, and of course we are more than happy to give that to her, and to help her however we can. She has given us so much love, that we could hardly do less. We love her too.