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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you may remember my thread from last summer that described how I had to jump in the pond and save my old Yoda from drowning. Well I brought 13 1/2 year old Yoda down to Texas with me last month to camp out and hang around while I train his two younger brothers Gus and Alex with Rob Erhardt and his group. It was a great idea bringing Yoda as all the excitment of being in a training atmosphere jacked him up and seemed to give him a new lease on life as compared to just sleeping all day at home, but the "other shoe" dropped last wednesday, when he had a serious stroke. I opened up his kennel to air him after about three hours and he couldn't even stand up without falling over.

This was beyond devistating, all I could think was having to call my wife to tell her I was going to have to put him down. But I was super blessed to have Ron Ainley and Wayne Skochenski training with us these past few weeks and Wayne, who is absolutely the hardest working, most generous and nicest guy ever, recognized the symptoms as a stroke and encouraged me with the story about his own dog and how she went through the same thing at Yoda's age, recovered and lived another couple years. Rob called his vet to set up an appointment, and I raced over with Yoda on the front seat.

The vet verified Wayne's diagnosis, gave me a prescription, encouraged me to walk Yoda and said anything could happen from him staying the same, getting worse, improving modestly or a lot. Well, after a couple bad days; Yoda not being able to eat food out of a bowl, even though he was hungry and would gulp it out of my hand, Yoda not being able to stand up on his own, head tilted hard right, a couple more siezures (very scary watching your dog struggle and panic, then arch up like he's dying), walking after being lifted down to the ground, but walking like a drunk sailor on land. But, little by little he improved, until he is almost back to normal, or at least compensating for some brain damage. He still has a slight head tilt, I think he's blind in his left eye, his back end is definately wobbly but he makes it work, overall I'm ecstatic but scared about another episode.

I and our whole training group are very much appreciating each day with Yoda as he steals birds off the bird rack, watches dogs launch off line almost like he's thinking about breaking for that bird and racing them to it. I'm taking lots of pictures and just enjoying his company. I just wanted to write this for those of you with nice old senior dogs at home, please don't take them for granted as they tend to fade in the background like an old piece of furniture.

Here's Yoda from today, I wish I could post the video to show how animated he is...
 

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John,

Please give Yoda a hug for me. I know what you are going through, it is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. I'll give my old man a hug for you and Yoda....he says it sucks getting old, but then again it ain't all bad.

Lainee & Flash
 

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Thanks for sharing! Great to hear and all the best to Yoda and you going forward!
 

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He's a grand old guy, isn't he...
How great is that, he gets to steal all the birds he wants!! :D
 

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John,
What a beautiful post! Thank you!
I am so happy to hear that Yoda is recovering so well and is stealing birds off the drying rack. Good for him! You go Yoda!!!! And if you want to break and steal another dog's mark, I think you deserved it.
John, you make a very good point to all of us, not just just senior dog owners, enjoy and really appreciate every moment we have with these special dogs. It is never long enough and they can be gone in a heartbeat.
Diane
 

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That's a great story and something I didn't know about-that they could be given meds for a stroke. I have a 14 year old and he makes me laugh everyday, even though he is impatient in his old age to be let in the door NOW after he is done farting around outside.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Good luck to you both.
 

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John, best wishes for you and Yoda!

If its any help, I've had three that have gone through the same thing, and they all bounced back for a while. I do rescue now and again and you can never place the old dogs, so I keep them. One was mine forever, the other two were rescues. I hope and trust he'll bounce right back.

Is Rob feeding you any of that pig?
 

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Great for Yoda, John, hope he continues to feel better and hang out with you for a good while yet. The old dogs just have so much heart & soul, terribly hard when their bodies betray them. Glad you are enjoying the sunset years with him.
 

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Very nice story!!!!
Dave Hare
 

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Ahhh John--I so get this. Very very glad Yoda recovered, each day is a gift. Those white faces and clouding eyes.
 

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Thank you for your post. We have a 13 year old Golden Retriever who we dearly love. He can't hear too well anymore, his eyes are a bit foggy, and he shuffles and lurches when he walks. He knows when Don is in his chair so shuffles over to lay his head on the chair arm or he sighs and slowly lowers himself to the floor to place his head on his feet. We watch for the rise and fall of his chest to make sure all is well. Some day, we know, the time will come when he may leave us.

I will remember this story about a stroke and being able to put Yoda on meds. Give your Yoda a hug and a loving pat for us.

Helen
 

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Thank you for that wonderful story of Yoda!! Reading your story brought back a bunch of great memories of my Golden/Lab mix Cheyenne. She was the sweetest kindest dog I have ever known. I'm sure Yoda is that way also. Give him a hug for me please.
 

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Great post John, looks as though your in good company down there, won't find a harder worker than Wayne S. he's a good egg , but don't let him fool ya, Bailey makes him look really, really good.. Iv'e got a 12 year old that trained with us this past weekend, shot her a flyer, her tail didn't stop waggin all night, you could tell she was pretty happy with the boss... Have fun, take LOTS of pictures, and enjoy every retrieve...
 

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Great post. My 12 yr old is sleeping under my desk while I play on my computer. I worry about him all the time.
 

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Sorry and glad to hear this story john I write this while rubbing pyzons back. He had a episode last week when he lost the use of his front right leg I was able to massage and get it working again but I know the feeling he's my best buddy. Let me know about plane ticket if your fling or not.
Take care of yourself and that old guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Glad to hear he's doing so well!
That sounds like classic vestibular syndrome, BTW. Most dogs recover fully from it.
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_vestibular_disease.html
Barb,
Thank you so much for that link. That is exactly what Yoda is doing. The Vet had ruled that diagnosis out as Yoda's eyes movements were more rotational than back and fourth, but this link mentions rotational as well. Yoda exhibited every other symptom that was mentioned on that link.


I also thank everyone else for your kind comments.

John
 

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John-

Very best to you & your wife with Yoda. It ought to be every dog's birthright to be cherished in their older years. I've had the misfortune recently to spend time with folks who see their dogs as a commodity only and give them no personal time. They are a business-pure and simple. It turns my stomach.

I remember as Kate (& Bailey too) was aging that walking a little slower and allowing her some dignity was what I owed her most. Someone recently posted about how you learn more with each dog and it leaves you feeling you've done a disservice to the first one. I can identify with that, but having almost lost her in an accident, I rebounded and cherished every minute afterwards. She taught me what true, unselfish, unconditional love is. If that seems nambyely pamby to those who just don't get it-so be it, but Finn is living the life he does because of Kate before him. She passed away at 14 and still has a piece of my heart, but she left enough for Finn and I thank her for that.

Again-wishing you the best for Yoda and glad he is blessed to have you!!

M
 
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