Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Hi everyone,

For Christmas, mom and dad got all of us, cookies from our friends at In The Raw Pet Foods.

Here I am enjoying my cookie...oh yum, yum.

Here's my sister Tuvia

And my brother, Jetta

And here's Owen, who ate his cookie before mom could take the picture... says we get some Christmas turkey too??!!! 

We hope that everyone had a great Christmas. We wish you all peace and belly rubs all year long.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is it a SCUD missile?

It's been pretty dark out when I take my dad or mom out for a walk so my dad outfitted my new, larger cart with some lights. There's a white flashing one on my collar and there are two red flashing lights on the rear of my cart. This is so everyone out there can see my dad, who occasionally wanders off aimlessly. Mom also gave him a really bright LED flashlight to use in case he has to signal cars, spaceships and aliens. Some of the hoomans that have seen my lights think that I'm "lit up" for the holidays :) and so on that note, I'd like to wish all my friends out there, peace and happiness for the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sam's Update

Hi All

Sam here. It was fun rolling in the snow last week. I didn't care that there was snow. I love going out for my walkies, rain or shine. Dad complains about it being cold and wet. He doesn't like it much, especially after about an hour. He says I'm immune to the cold. LOL. Good for him that it is not quite so cold now. Most of the snow is gone and we'll just get some wet snow with the rain.

I had a bit of a weird hair day today. It was kind of sticking up on one side when I woke up. Bed Head...

It was swimming day today too. The pool was a little warmer than usual. It was okay at first but after a little while I think it was too hot for me. It was really tiring to swim today. I just wanted to get out and lie on the pool deck for a while but they made me go back in for a couple more laps.

We have some good news and some bad news (for mom and dad's budget). I'm getting pretty strong and developing a lot more muscle. My doctors are impressed with my progress so far. My front shoulders and legs have really gotten muscular. Just call me "Arnold". But I've grown so much up front that my wheely cart is getting too small and my mom and dad had to order another one from Eddies Wheels. Oops. It should be arriving on Monday.

I still don't have feeling in my back legs yet but they are getting more muscular too. When my mom and dad do my exercises with my legs, they notice that there is more resistance and that they twitch a bit so they think that's pretty good.

I'll have to get the folks to put up a picture of me in my new cart once it gets here!

Bye for now. Love and kisses to everyone.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Interesting Lecture by Dr. Gail Jewell, DVM, Canine Chiropractor

Dr. Jewell, veterinarian chiropractor, gave a very interesting talk yesterday at the DOGSmart Training centre in Vancouver.

She has developed a stretching regime that can help prevent injury and in many cases also help the animal tap into its own healing powers. Her method of chiropractic is also well suited to animals, very gentle, using only her hands and well tolerated by the animal.

Main take aways from her talk - 1) moderation, 2) observation, 3) proactivity.

1) Try not to play or train (ie a single agility event) with repetitive actions for more than a few minutes at a time. Chasing balls, with constant quick stops and starts; catching frisbees, jumping up high and landing; weaving over and over, can be very hard on a dog's body.

2) Changes in behaviour or desire to do a behaviour may be your dog telling you something. This can signal a physical issue that may not be readily apparent, or that may not be picked up by conventional testing. Take note of those changes, including desire to be touched, held or petted.

3) Any injury will cause some overcompensation in another area which could create misalignment and imbalance in the body. Regular chiropractic checks - one or two a year, or more frequently for active dogs or dog althletes - can head off minor problems before they become big ones.

From Dr. Jewell's web site:
Chiropractic is based on the philosophic theory that the body has an innate ability to heal itself. This innate intelligence is similar to the idea of chi or the vital force, as in homeopathy.
For more information about Dr. Jewell and her practice:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Surprise, surprise...I have

Lately I've been getting lots of "prezzies" - some better than others. Let's start with the good one. Before Sunshade's "evil" but very nice mum left for her vacation, she sent along a license plate, made especially for me.

Now, I'll show you some of my less popular presents that my mom and dad got me...see those blue rubber slip-ons? Well those are called Pawz and they're supposed to keep my feet dry, safe from pollutants, assorted yucky things and even snow. They slip on and stay on and they're reusable and I can still "feel" the ground.

You'd think that we'd be done with the 'presents" right? Oh no, not around this house. So dad runs over and slaps on another...raincoat, a heavier one for the rains that always come with Fall.

That does it, the neighbors are all pointing. I'm getting out of here with some of my dignity. Before...

...before, my dad pulls the hood over me....oh the shame...

I'm going to run off before my dad has a chance to put that flashing strobe light onto my license plate. Bye for now. Just call me "Westcoast Sam".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn morning walk

Out walking today. It's getting cool out there in the mornings. Gotta wear the coat. Nice plaid.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dr Jewell's Back!!

It's been extra long between appointments with Dr. Gail Jewell. But she is back from the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Yeah, and she finished the 100 mile ride (only about half of the hundred competitors actually finished the course) and the Canadian team came in 7th overall. Fantastic!!

Sam was really happy to see Dr. Gail yesterday. And since she normally only sees Sam once a month, she notices a lot more change in him than we do - he has put on more weight, he has more muscle mass, there is more resistance in the hind legs, and he tends to tuck his back legs more than letting them drag all the way out behind him. We also notice that he is sitting more with his legs to the side than straight out back.

At times Sam's progress has seemed extremely slow but there is progress. It's just hard to see changes on a day to day basis. But Dr. Jewell felt that Sam is doing great. He has the will and attitude that it takes to get through this and that is a good thing.

Here's a short clip of the session.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Out and About with Sam and Friends

Sniff,'s CoCo
Sometimes when I take my dad for a walk, I meet up with different furry kids. Here are some of my "buds" from a recent outing.

This is Molly

Molly's found a sweet patch

Rappy stopped by to say hello
Me and my fall colors

Angus is so cool

No, no dad, this way...

My friend The Cat...hmmm....smells like chicken

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chiropractic treatment for dogs

Dr. Janice Crook, family vet
You've already heard about Sam's regular vet, Dr. Janice Crook, who also gives him acupuncture treatments.

Sam also gets regular chiropractic treatments from Dr. Gail Jewell. All of our dogs have had regular preventative care chiropractic sessions with Dr. Jewell since they were puppies.

We learned with our last dogs, Wupper and Max, that little things go out of whack all the time with them because they run and jump and roll around and play and crash into each other -- regular dog stuff.  Usually it's minor things that come up -- a rib goes out, toes get jammed, a tail gets kinked -- and there is nothing obvious to the casual observer.  And it probably doesn't bother the dog too much but he can't tell us about it anyway.

However, all those little injuries do have a cumulative effect if not taken care of before they become a major injury or condition.  A little pain in one place can cause the dog to compensate by overusing another part of the body, causing stress and strain.  Those little injuries over and over again can lead to premature arthritis and so on.

Because our dogs have had treatments regularly since they were puppies, if there is anything out because of some rough housing (they seem to love jumping on each other) or extra runs at an agility match, it is worked out with minimum treatment.  Usually just Dr. Jewell's examination by running her hands over them pops things back into place.  Plus the dogs love her massages.  They get totally excited when they see her.  We'll have to get video of the neck and shoulder massages -- blissed out bobble head dogs.

With Sam right now, Dr. Jewell's exams and treatments also ensure that Sam's spine is staying straight with nothing unusual showing up.  The gentle massage also helps relax his neck, chest and shoulder muscles because he only uses the front legs for mobility and pulling himself around, with and without his wheels.

Sam won't be seeing Dr Jewell for his visit this month because she and her husband have gone down to Lexington, Kentucky for the World Equestrian Games which run from September 25 to October 10.  They are both members of the Canadian National Equestrian team competing in the Endurance events - that's 100 mile rides.  Sam says that is waaay too far  him to walk.  We wish them luck.

Dr. Gail Jewell with her horse and her dog Casey
Dr. Jewell's website is for more information about chiropractic and the benefits for dogs.

World Equestrian Games

More on Dr. Gail her horses and team

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bring on the Liquid Sunshine

Well, it looks like summer is really over.  That raincoat is sure coming in handy.  Mom and I went on our morning walk yesterday and got pretty drenched.  We got lucky when the sun came out in the afternoon and stayed until the evening and my second walk was much more pleasant.  But last night it rained really hard again.

We had a bit of a break this morning but just before we left, there was some thunder. (I really DON'T like thunder.)  But my mom took me out hoping to do a short walk before the rain started again.  She kept trying to get me to keep walking but I just have to stop to sniff everything.  So we got caught in a thundershower before we got home and were really wet again.  I don't mind being wet though.  Anyway, I'm going swimming today so what the diff?

P.S.  Here are some pictures of our park when the sun came out yesterday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thanks for the Tripe Treats!!

On Thursday my mom and dad and sister Tuvia and I met Miss Sunshade and her mom at Tuvia's agility class.  It was really cool to finally meet them.

Miss Sunshade's mom brought us a bag of TRIPE TREATS!!   Thank you so much.  They are delicious (and stinky).

Duh,  mom and dad didn't even remember to take a picture of us together.  Well, I guess they are kind of tired after work and can't think of everything.   One time they were taking me to Tuvia's class to visit and they were running a little late getting dinner and then loading my wheels and my crate into the car and getting me in, they drove off and left Tuvia at home!   Ha Ha Ha!  They didn't even notice until they drove down the highway for about 5 minutes.  They had to turn around and go back for her.  We were a little late for class : 0}

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday Presents

Oh boy, we get real birthday presents after all.  Here's Dad teasing us with stuffed buffalos.  He doesn't think they'll last more than 10 minutes!!

Our new toys, one for each of us.

Owen with his toy.
I got mine too.  Oops no more tail on this one.  Hee Hee.
P.S.  You may notice that Owen has more hair than me.  I used to have a lot too.  See the big picture of me on the blog.  My hair just hasn't grown in the way it used to be.  Mom used to call me a Wookie cuz I looked like Chewbacca from Star Wars.  And all the fur on my feet made me look like I had bear paws :)
I guess I will just have to be patient until things get back to normal.

Good night.

Rainy Days and Raincoats

I think that my mom and dad must have been talking to Sunshade's "evil mum" because Owen and I had been anticipating great presents and treats for our sixth birthday...when suddenly, my dad says we got you a surprise and plops a raincoat on me and pulls a hood over my head. The other kids, laughed and laughed...

That is, until mom and dad took out several other packages and voila....everyone has a goofy rain coat.

I'm hoping that they don't get us rubber boots and flashing lights too. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Three Months and Counting

It’s been just over three months since I had my surgery (May 21) and overall I’m doing better than I was six weeks ago.

So let’s review the positive stuff first 

  •  There’s more feeling further down my spine. More on my left side than on my right but nevertheless there’s been progress.
  •  My hind flanks have more mass and my hind legs and feet look better and feel warmer than just a few weeks ago.
  •  I have more feeling in some of the toes of my hind feet.
  •  I can lift my backend up but I can’t yet use my hind legs to support myself.
  • The shaved rectangle on my back has finally grown some fur – winter’s coming.
  •  I have really built up the muscles in my front legs and chest from using my wheelchair.
  • Attitude and demeanour – I’m my own happy puppy. I don’t spend any time worrying about my condition. My dad and mom do that for me. 
  •  I can swim now without a PFD. My swim coach Jacqueline tried me without my PFD a few weeks ago and I haven’t worn one since.
  •  I feel more of the acupuncture needles, it might hurt a bit but at least that means I have feeling there and that’s a very good thing.

And the stuff we’re still working on:

  • Pooping and peeing – my dad and my mom are still looking after this for me. I’m glad my dad can look after me a lot.
  • Time – it might be another 6 or 9 months before we know how much more mobility I’ll be able to regain. There’s certainly been improvements but it’s taken a lot of time and care to have gotten this far.
  • Acupuncture is now once every two weeks because my vet (Janice) feels that I am almost as well off on this schedule as I would be going in to see her weekly. And we might as well save my mom and dad some money so they can spend it on almond butter and treats for me. 
  • Hydrotherapy is still weekly as I really like it. It helps to loosen up the tightness in my chest and I like my swimming coach Jacqueline at Aquapaws . Besides I’ll show signs of walking underwater before I am able to on land.·         I’m still taking Neurotrophin and Neuroplex to help with nerve regeneration.
  • The fur on my front legs has not regrown yet but hopefully it will soon. My dad and mom used to call me a “wookie” because my legs looked like the wookie on Star Wars. Right now they look kind of skinny.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sam I Am

Hi There

I want to say hello to all my new friends and to tell you a little more about myself.

My name is Sam, aka Sammy, aka Sammy Bear, aka Sammy Sofa. I am 5 years old and I will be 6 in September.

I was born on one of the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia and was one of 6 puppies of Toby, my dog mom, who was rescued from a shelter in the United States, just in the knick of time. She was about to be euthanized when some kind folks in British Columbia went into action to save her. ( To see her story and picture of me with Toby when I was really little, click on Toby's story)

Once Toby was in her new home for a while, her adopted parents discovered she was going to have puppies! Surprise : 0} That's where I come in. If Toby had not been rescued from the shelter, I wouldn't be here today.

In November 2004, my mom found out about us from one of her friends. My mom and dad were still really sad because their two other fur kids had just gone to heaven (Wupper in October 2004, aged 18 and Max in July 2004, aged 15) so they weren't sure about taking on a new puppy just yet.

Fortunately they came to see us and decided to take both me and my brother Owen home with them. Owen and I look like spaniels but our other litter mates all looked a little different. They believe our dad was an American Cocker Spaniel and our mom Toby is part Affenpinscher (a That's me and Owen in the picture. of terrier) and part Schnauzer. So our first human parents have said that our breed is "Affenschnocker" Hee Hee.

That's me and Owen in the picture. It doesn't matter what they label us. We 're just a couple of fun loving guys. Good looking, too : )

Toby's story

Monday, July 12, 2010

Acupuncture for Dogs

One of Sam's other rehab therapies is acupuncture. He gets weekly treatments with his vet Dr. Janice Crook at Mosquito Creek Veterinary Clinic.

We first discovered the effectiveness of acupuncture with our Sheltie Max. Max had developed arthritis that got so bad by the time he was about 7 years old that he could barely get himself up. Our vet at the time putting him on anti-inflammatory drugs but because he had already been showing abnormal liver readings for , we were reluctant to put him on it because of the potential for liver and kidney damage.

We went to Dr. Crook and began acupuncture treatments to see if it would help. Hopeful, but not entirely convinced that we would see any improvement we arranged for a series of 6 treatments as a trial. We knew that at least there wouldn't be any adverse side effects.

To our great relief and amazement, after 3 or 4 sessions, Max exhibited much greater mobility and decrease in discomfort. Needless to say, we continued the treatments, weekly at first and then less frequently once his condition had stabilized. He regained mobility and could walk and run and chase our other dog around the yard again. Even after sustaining a knee injury a few years later, Max remained healthy and mobile well into his 13th year and passed away at age 15.

Sam has great heart and surprises us daily with what he can do even with his current limitation. Along with nutritional support, passive physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and his regular visits to his chiropractic vet, Dr. Jewell, acupuncture is also giving his body the best chance to heal.

For information about acupuncture for dogs:

Out and About

At an agility fun match on July 11, 2010.

Sam was so happy to be out and about, visiting friends, getting lots of attention in his snazzy wheels.

He misses going to his regular training classes. His favourite was Train and Play.

We thought it would be a good idea to have a special agility event for dogs in wheelchairs, dogs that can't jump or with other physical challenges -- like the Paralympics for dogs!! What do you think?

Friday, July 9, 2010


It was another day at the pool for Sam on Friday. Going swimming regularly is part of Sam's therapy to support him in regaining the use of his hind legs. For us and Sam, that means a weekly date at Aqua Paws Hydrotherapy. Today it seemed that his tail was getting more active in the water. And he may be able to bend his knees under water as well.

Since the surgery, Sam has very little muscle tone in his rear legs. If he does regain feeling in the legs, he would not be able to move them much or support himself because of the muscle weakness. Being able to float in the warm water of the pool is beneficial in many ways. It allows him to be supported in a weightless environment. It promotes the use of the legs with less effort. It allows him to relax his other muscles.

For the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs

Aqua Paws Hydrotherapy Inc.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Curious to Know....

Weather for Vancouver, BC, Canada
27°C | °F
Current: Sunny
Wind: NW at 16 km/h
Humidity: 45%
Thu 31°C | 18°C
Fri 29°C | 17°C
Sat 24°C | 16°C
Sun 23°C | 15°C

HOT. HOT. HOT. Well, summer has finally hit big time here. It's been sunny and hot this week but looks like today will be close to, if not a record breaker with a high of 31 C (that's 87 F)! So the portable air conditioners have been running in the family room and the bedroom to try to keep things cool for the dogs in a couple of rooms even though the rest of the house gets really warm and stuffy (we're south facing and the bright people who built the house only made one small window that opens in the front living room -- >> no air movement !!!)

The other dogs get their walk at the neighbourhood park about 6:30 am when it's still nice and cool and then come back and have their breakfast. Sam gets his walk after breakfast (about 8:00 am) and it is a little warmer for sure. There are a few shady places at the park but for the most part it is quite open and sunny. Sam gets to walk without the other dogs right now because he likes to take his time. He gets strapped into his wheelchair and away he goes.
Being part spaniel, Sam has lived a big part of his 5 1/2 years with his nose on the ground. And being in the wheelchair is no different. He wants to check everything out and is in no great hurry to do so. Other times he takes a break to check out the view or watch the birds.
"Birds??? Where?? What do I miss more? Chasing the birds and sometimes those ducks that sit in the grass? -- don't worry. I'm on leash and only get to go a few feet before I have to stop. OR scratching my ears--- AHHH"
The other thing about walking Sam now is how many people stop to look at him in the wheelchair. He is a curiosity. Many people just look. But many ask questions:
  • What happened to him? (ruptured disc and spinal surgery... aside from that don't know how or why it happened )
  • How long will it take to walk again (don't know, it varies for every dog... but Sam is definitely motivated)
  • Did you make the cart? ( gosh no... thank goodness see Eddie's Wheels)
As for Sam, he just takes it all in stride. We can honestly say that, aside from not being able to use his hind legs, he's pretty much his old self again ... strong willed (read: stubborn at times), fiercely independent, great appetite for for food and for life, and pretty happy. He's not worried about what he can't do. If he wants to do something, he tries. If it works, great. He'll keep doing it. If it doesn't work, oh well, let's try something else. I'd say there is a life lesson in there somewhere. Thanks Sam.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We fully expect Sam to regain most, if not all, of his mobility in time. But in the meantime, he is assisted in getting around with his wheelchair from Eddie's Wheels.