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Yoshi's Wheels

Chris and Ivan, very special friends of mine, decided it was time to have a furry bundle to share their life and home with, and decided on a GSD puppy. . .

They picked a cute and lovely Black and Tan puppy of eight weeks, and named her YOSHI.

Yoshi was full of life and into everything as soon as she reached their home. She loved people and animals, and also the attention she had lavished upon her, because she was an absolutely adorable puppy.

When Yoshi was about 13 months old, Chris and Ivan had her hips X-rayed as they thought she swayed a bit on her back legs. They were told that both hips wanted re-placing, but they had reservations as anaesthesia and invasive surgery was involved.

Chris and Ivan were advised to take Yoshi to hydrotherapy as swimming would help build up muscle mass, thus helping to stabilize her without putting too much pressure on her back end and joints.

They decided to put off surgery and go for hydrotherapy and started off with swimming Yoshi twice a week. She just loved the hydro-pool and water games. Chris and Ivan also changed Yoshi’s diet to a more natural BARF diet, supplemented with vitamin C and garlic, as they suspected Yoshi’s immune system had been damaged.

They also decided they wanted another dog and got their second GSD puppy and called him Mischa (a lovely male pup). Yoshi got on with the job of taking her new charge in hand straight away. She made it clear in no uncertain terms who the top dog was. She occupied hisbed, took all his toys, and when he did try to usurp her authority she would promptly get him by the scruff of the neck and toss him on his back. AS Yoshi was still a bit of a juvenile delinquent herself she may not have had her priorities quite straight when it came to teaching Mischa certain things. Having said that she was quite proficient at what she did manage to teach him and Mischa was a quick learner. Mischa soon became quite proficient at barking in the car and digging up the garden. So much so that when they looked out of their kitchen window at the favourite digging site at the rear of the garden, the little pup, Mischa, would be seen disappearing into the depth of the crater.

They thought to make a game out of this activity by placing treats and toys in the hole and then refilling it, so that they were limiting this activity to just one spot. The bond between them grew as time passed.

Over the next eight years life went on. Yoshi appeared to be getting along just fine, and the HD didn’t seem to be giving her any trouble or apparent pain. They undertook the usual activities obedience training, tracking, heel to music, agility (to a limited degree, as the dysplacia was always in the back of their minds), and of course continued to swim both of the dogs.

On Sunday morning, July 10th 2005, whilst they were having breakfast, Yoshi began flailing about on her bed, all four limbs erratically waving up in the air and her eyes rolling, desperately trying to get up, only to stumble whilst circling in one direction and then collapsing in a heap on her bed. She was clearly in great distress, and so were Chris and Ivan. They had no idea what the matter was, but suspected a stroke or epileptic fit. Frantically they rang the local Vet, recommended by a friend who had many years experience with GSD’s, and their wide range of ailments, and were told that it was probably a problem with her inner ear affecting her balance, or Vestibular Syndrome. Still very worried, they rang their own Vet who was based further afield, and was told the same thing, but that it was more probably Vestibular Syndrome, and to bring the dog to the surgery immediately. Without delay, but with great difficulty, Yoshi was bundled into their car, her eyes still rolling and wildly darting from side to side.

When they arrived the Vet came out and confirmed his original diagnosis and promptly administered two injections – dexadreson and stemitil – along with prescribing a course of tablets – prednicare, fitergol and stemetil. They were told that when these attacks occur, treatment must be administered within 12 hours was to be made possible.

This vestibula seizure upset Chris and Ivan very much, but they coped with Yoshi very well, and she improved dramatically. Then Chris noticed Yoshi’s back legs had started dragging, and when she was checked by the Vet, CDRM was diagnosed has having set in. Yoshi was about 10 years old by this time and she did really well on her legs. Chris and Ivan still took both dogs swimming every week, and the dogs loved it.

Yoshi was always a very happy, playful girl (with her favourite red ball) and had lots of energy. Gradually, however, Yoshi’s back end (CDRM) worsened, with her nails scraping the ground when she walked. Eventually she couldn’t get around without a struggle. In May ’06 Chris and Ivan decided to get Yoshi measured up for a set of wheels to enable her to get around easier and also to run in the garden with Mischa. The wheels were made and and delivered very quickly

Chris and Ivan had a very large garden and when Yoshi was placed in her wheels, well there was no stopping her. She hared up and down the garden, played ball AND CHASED Mischa. It was just wonderful for her – if you got in her way the wheels would almost run over your toes. She would go to the Park with her wheels, and everyone would stop and talk to Chris, Ivan and Yoshi. It gave Yoshi a new lease of life, a life she most definitely would not have had without her wheels. It was so good to see Chris and Ivan laughing and happy because Yoshi had a quality of life again

Chris and Ivan, together with Yoshi and Mischa left to live in Canada in Oct.06 and Yoshi’s wheels went with them. We kept in touch and I had updates on how Yoshi and Mischa were doing. On 8th August this year, I had a phone call from Ivan telling me that Yoshi had passed away, aged 12 years.

She was a very special girl at any time – but when she was in her wheels she just buzzed with Fun and Life, a pleasure to see. Yoshi very quickly adapted to using her wheels, and they definitely gave her an extra 15 months of useful life, which she enjoyed to the full, both in England and Canada.