It is hard for anyone to understand- if they haven’t had a pet before- that pets are family. For us, this really became a view in our lives at the end of March of 2016. Flash, the family Bassett hound, suddenly could no longer use his back legs. He was an old man, yes, but a loving sweet dog that was rescued and brought into the Schilling family in 2010. We guessed his age between 10 and 12 years old currently (around 6yrs when Ryan took him into his home). When he couldn’t walk, we did not know what to do. Out of the two vets in our area we took him to, one mentioned it would be a $3000.00 surgery and they could provide us with some medicine. The other vet also said medicine and a dog chiropractor (crazy right). We were at a loss, on a budget, and could not imagine our life without the old man around. Now, months later, Flash is walking again, and we cannot help but thank VIPs for everything they have done for us.
Ryan and I are located in Dubuque, IA. We are a young couple, newly married in 2015, and moved into our home July of 2014. When we moved in, Ryan brought his dog, Flash (named after Dukes of Hazard of course- my husband’s imagination) from his parent’s loving home to live with us. I also had a dog at my parent’s house. Little Laysie (pronounced Lacie), a teacup Yorkie, was about 12 weeks when we moved in together and started our family. Right before we got married, we could not resist to take in a third dog, Fred, a Bassett too cute not to bring into our home (of course, named after the Bassett on Smokey and the Bandit). Shortly after we were married in September of 2015, we were happy to announce we were having a child in December of that year, who is now expected to join us July of 2016. Everything was perfect.
At the end of September, 2015, we noticed Flash was having difficulty walking. He was falling over a lot and dragging himself. Frightened we took him to the vet in Dyersville, IA, my friend worked at. It was not my usual vet, but I figured since my friend worked there we would give it a try. The call fee was much lower than my normal vet on a weekend. They were extremely helpful, offered us some steroids and told us it could be many things causing him not to walk, but, more than likely it was a bulged disk. If the steroids did not work, unfortunately the only options were a $3000.00 surgery. Thankfully, the steroid shots worked! A few days after our visit, Flash was walking like normal…. If only it would have been that easy.
End of March, 2016, Flash began not walking again. With hopeful thoughts, we called the same vet as last time and got him on the same medicine. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky this time. The steroids did not work, and we were faced with two options. Putting a dog down was not something we wanted to do, and with a baby on the way, paying $3000.00 for a surgery for a dog that may be over 10 years old seem unreasonable. So, we did a little more research. A classmate of mine recommended us to go to a chiropractor for dogs. Said Dr. Christine. I mentioned it to Ryan, who in turn said no way and it was a “dumb idea.” Agreeing with his doubts, we waiting a few more days for the steroid medicine to run out. Then, one day, there was no more walking for Flash. He looked miserable. He was dragging himself around the carpet with his front legs, he was in pain. He couldn’t stand to go to the bathroom, sores began to emerge on his back legs, and he was bleeding. I, of course, a pregnant mess, broke down balling and called Ryan and his family. Ryan’s family stopped by the house and we went over options of what to do. Do we get a doggy wheel chair; do we try and make surgery work, which would be able to help us? I decided to call our normal vet. They too said surgery was an option (the $3000.00 one), but it may not work due to him being so old it could be arthritis. But, they also said, there is this VIPs Vet in Marion you could try and offered me the website…
Turns out, this VIPs was the same person as Dr. Christine! With the two referrals, I did some research, and after talking it over with Ryan, sending emails, a voicemail, and a personal message on FB (keep in mind this was all after hours), we decided it was worth our time to drive to Marion. Flash was family, and we couldn’t not try. We were recommended 3 appointments, all close together, to try and get some progress made. We had high doubts, there was no way this was going to work, but, just maybe, it would. We determined that paying $100 a visit and three total visits would be better than giving up all together.
The first visit was very eye opening for the both of us. Flash had to be carried in, by this time the cuts/ rug burn on his legs were getting to the point we were wrapping them with socks and gauze. He had to drag himself across he office to meet Carla and Dr. Christine Woodford. Dr. Christine was very understanding of our situation and helped us understand what she was doing. She explained how she was moving things on his back and where the pain was at. She did acupuncture, which I was unaware at the time, I signed up for when scheduling this visit. Flash did not like it much, but it was neat how she put the needles in him and then used a machine to vibrate the areas needed. She taught us physical therapy to do, recommended some methods to try and get him walking again as well as a new diet plan, and offered to give us medicine through the vet we wanted in order to help with inflammation and pain. It was great to work with Dr. Christine that day. We left there with more knowledge of what dog chiropractor and acupuncture was and scheduled an appointment for the following week. This one was in Dubuque, IA- closer to home.
For the first couple days, we did not see improvement, it was a little disappointing. But, we kept with the therapy and the prescription she gave us. We had to lift him up and down the step into the house. The cuts got worst, I felt terrible for the old man. He didn’t like wearing the socks and gauze but it helped. A few days before the 2nd appointment, we saw Flash stand for the first time. Ryan yelled for me to stop putting on makeup to go see. I took a photo of it and sent it to Ryan’s family. No, he was not walking full-term yet, but he was standing! It was something. By the time Ryan took him to the 2nd appointment, Flash was to the point where he could walk but then teeter off and fall. But, he was trying hard. I was scared Ryan’s hopes were too high. He was still an old dog. I texted Dr. Christine my thoughts and told her my update personally. I had a doctor appointment myself that week for baby Schilling, so I could not join Ryan for this one. She was fantastic. She called me shortly after the appointment and gave me her side of things so I could hear exactly what she told Ryan. She told me she took a video of him walking the short period he did. She also did the chiropractor work and acupuncture again. Dr. Christine was thrilled with the progress, gave us more medicine to get us through until the next appointment and told us to keep doing what we are doing.
The final appointment was also in Dubuque- we got lucky she was in town twice that month. This time I could go. Within the time we had between the 2nd and 3rd appointment, Flash was walking! He no longer needed our help over the step, we could remove his bandages, and he was self-sufficient. Seeing Dr. Christine’s excitement was just as great as seeing Ryan’s excitement. The old man was walking! She did the usual work of acupuncture and chiropractic. She was very happy for him to be doing so well, and so were we. She told us she would like to see him in a month, said that she likes to do follow ups. Ryan and I both looked at each other and felt bad but just could not justify scheduling more appointments financially- which was slightly embarrassing, but we had to draw a line somewhere. Dr. Christine completely understood what we were saying, which was a little weight lifted off our shoulders. Of course, we wanted to come back and keep up, but with our situation, we just could not justify it. She said she would see him anytime if it flared up again. No pressure on us whatsoever.
About a month later, I got a text message; it was from the VIPs Vet office. I thought that was great and so did Ryan. They were just checking in to see how things were going. Flash was doing great. He tries jumping on the couch, but we have to tell him no, that’s not good for the long backs of a Bassett hound. The other Bassett, Fred, and Laysie still try and play with him as much as they can. Of course, we monitor it to a point where when it gets too rough, we tell them to settle down. But, things are finally back to normal again. Fred is still a puppy that drives us nuts at times, Flash is the old man who we love dearly, and Laysie is the spoiled little queen that plays as much as possible. We love them all.
VIPs Vet in Marion did a great job with us and our dog. We have our little family back to normal now. Everything about VIPs was amazing. Carla, the receptionist, kept us posted with location and times of the appointments via text message so I always knew what was going on. Dr. Christine’s knowledge and love for animals made us feel like we were in the right place and she understood our situation. They both did a great job keeping in contact with us, asking for updates to see how Flash was doing. Flash is doing great now, and I thank them for that. He runs and walks and is much happier. I can only hope this adds even more life to his long life he has had already. We cannot thank VIPs vet enough for all their dedication to help us get the old man walking again.