In our lives,  if we are really, really lucky,  we experience the complete, uncomplicated, unquestionable, love of a dog. For me, that dog is Louie. Since I was lucky enough to have him become part of my life, each day has been greeted with a stretch, a nose lick, and a smile. He has taught me the most unselfish love... He has never questioned my motives,  my actions, my moments of brilliance,  my moments of failure  For 7 years  he has been my champion. Now it is time for me to be his.

A few months ago, Louie started acting "off"  When you wake up with someone every day  you can tell when something has changed....conversely  sometimes you are so close to a situation  you don't see subtle changes. A friend observed that he seemed to be dragging a paw. To be honest, he has always had an issue walking (luxating patella)  so I just thought it was getting worse  A visit to my local vet with  tests and  X-Rays confirmed a neurological problem... "something going on with his spine" is not a thing you want to hear. Pain medication, and an anti inflammatory were dispensed, and an appointment was made with a neurologist in PA. A few days on meds seemed to give relief... then the real nightmare began.   I returned home from an appointment to find him screaming in pain.  I don't think there is a worse feeling in the world... Helpless to do anything,  helpless to bring relief. All along, he is staring at me.... The person he trusts, the person he relies on. More pain meds, then an emergency visit the next day to the neurologist in PA... a Friday morning  when nothing could really be done. More physical testing,  more meds,  And an appointment  made the next week for an MRI.  Unfortunately,  whatever was going on with Louie's neck wasn't being helped with the medications, and we spent 5 days with Louie unable to move without crying in pain. I honestly don't think there has been anything more difficult to hear...his screams of pain, inability to move... Then looking at me, begging for help.  After suffering all weekend, we were finally able to make the drive up to PA... Thank God for friends who were able to drive so I could hold Louie during the trip. He finally received an MRI  and it showed 3 "bad" discs in his neck. Unfortunately, they all showed equal degenerative problems, and the neurologist could not determine which discs were causing the excruciating pain. Surgery options were discussed  and it was decided that since it was impossible to determine which discs  were  causing the pain, a round of steroids was the best option.

The good news, is that the round of steroids has been a miracle. Within 24 hours,  Louie was out of pain  and no longer displaying any neurological issues. In the subsequent weeks  he has shown me how much discomfort and pain he was in the past few months.... Now that he is acting "normal"  I realize how much his activity and personality had changed as his pain increased. He is once again his curious  active self, who gets excited about "going to see his bruddah Queso"  and to get the mail. Unfortunately  there is no way of knowing how long the benefits of the steroids will last, and they are extremely harsh, especially on an 8 pound dog. Surgery is still a likely event.  Unfortunately  all of the vet visits,  emergency specialist visits, x-rays,  MRI and medications have stretched me beyond my means. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't ever have extra for events, concerts, trip  etc. I haven't left the Delmarva area in 5 years for anything but work. I work hard for my employer of 36 years.  I work hard at my jewelry business....but each month is still a struggle,  and the bills generated from Louies neck issue have put me under water. It is a horrible situation to be in, but I have never questioned for one second whether or not to help Louie. At only 7, he still has too many years of love, and being loved ahead of him. Any help you can provide would greatly appreciated .
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Jenny Kuhn 
Milton, DE

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