My 5-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Poppy, and I are embarking on the journey of a lifetime. We are traveling across the country from California to Connecticut in order to attend the Wigglebutt Wedding, to help raise money for Life's Little Paws Cocker Rescue. Poppy will be a bridesmaid in the wedding wearing a couture gown in grape from Spoiled Pup Boutique and a special hat styled by The Mad Dog Hatter.
Dexter will wed his bride Zoe, who was rescued by LLP on the day she was to be euthanized. The parents of the soon-to-be newlyweds came up with this great plan in order to fundraise for LLP and to increase awareness of the many wonderful Cocker Spaniels in need of loving homes. We are heading home to California by way of Reno in order to attend the Cocker Spaniel Nationals. We're traveling a coast to coast tour of America, visiting animal lovers along the way, for safety sake, yes, but also just because we really like socializing with animal lovers!
Poppy has had 2 spinal surgeries for degenerative disc disease (IVDD). After her last IVDD surgery in April 2012, she spent 2 months in total crate rest, and the next 4 months of mostly crate rest with multiple exercises, acupuncture and hydrotherapy, to gain strength in her back legs so she could walk again. She still has neurological deficiencies. I don't think she has normal feeling in her hind end. She can't empty her bladder fully without my help, although sometimes she surprises me and does just that. For the first year she often pooped in her sleep. She has improved, primarily because she's on a highly digestible raw diet. It's a delicate balance of regular visits to potty outside, bladder expression, and learning to read the little signs that she's “got to go” but just doesn't know it.
I realize that Poppy seems to be a walking time bomb! She could rupture another disk and become permanently paralyzed at any moment. Traveling with an able-bodied furrend is hard enough, but taking care of a dog with special needs adds a whole other level to the challenge. We are careful with the type and amount of exercise she takes. I will travel with a crate and a stroller so she can take regularly scheduled rests. Poppy has a very sturdy car seat called the Animals Matter Companion Oversized Car Seat. It can be found at In The Company of Dogs.
The driving will be limited to 3 to 4 hours a day, so neither of us get too tired. We will stop at friends' houses or hotels along the way and have “Poppy Socials” all over the country! Our veterinary neurologist has given us the go ahead! We are armed with a 2 week supply of steroids and pain relievers, just in case Poppy has another back episode. If she does have a disc bulging into the spinal cord, I will need to give her strict crate rest and medications ASAP to hopefully avoid another rupture.
I decided to take this trip while we are both able to enjoy it. Hopefully we will look back when she is old and gray and marvel at how worried we were that we would lose her at a young age. We will enjoy every day of the rest of Poppy's life together, whether it's another week or 10 years.
Follow us as we take off on the Poppy Across America Tour 2013 with the free iPad/iPhone app or on Track My Tour's website. You'll be able to see our progress as we take 2 weeks to cross from west to east and then back again from east to west using a different route.
This is a link to my map. Just click the star in the top right of the page to save it as a “favorite” so you don't have to find the map link every time you want to see what we have been doing. Here's our itinerary in case any of you are close to us on our travels and want to meet us for a chat, play, coffee or a meal somewhere. My furry bundle of love adores palling around with other dogs and people! We are traveling thru the following cities:
Fidose of Reality note: Kim and Poppy will be blogging for us at least once a week for the next 5-6 weeks, so stay tuned for updates, stories, and photos from the road. We've gone cross country twice and love it. We know it can be done, and Kim with Poppy by her side will be showing us how. Rock on, you two , and safe travels!