Karlie had the biggest smile…always. She had an abundance of energy. She loved to play with any ball and went all out every time. And then she started to slow down. After 6 months of trying to figure out what was happening, we determined she had geriatric onset laryngeal paralysis polyneuropathy (GOLPP). Sadly, it slowly started to take away her endurance, strength, muscle tone, voice, and mobility. Some dogs (and people) would wallow in what they could no longer do. They would spend most of their time lounging and sleeping, but not Karlie. Despite her health issues, she insisted on playing ball, going on walks/hikes, going kayaking, and doing the things she loved. I decided to do whatever I could to help her. This began nearly two years of adapting to each new change. Karlie willingly tried everything I came up with. And that is what it means to live like Karlie – do what you love, make the best of every day, and always smile.
Instead of being sad about what your dog can not do, celebrate what she can. This may mean making adaptations so she can do what she loves. If she has breathing issues, try walking early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cool. If she loves to play ball, try playing inside where it’s cooler. Try using a cooling vest and go early in the morning when it’s cool, if she loves to kayak. If she has mobility issues, try using a harness, wheelchair, or stroller. Instead of going on long hikes or walks, take her on trips to the nursery or other places to explore. It’s just as important to exercise her brain as her body. Anything you can do to bring joy to her day and give her something fun to do. We did this for Karlie and I believe it gave her something to live for and was the reason she was willing to fight to overcome her issues. Her resilience and never give up attitude is what Live Like Karlie is all about. I hope to encourage everyone to adopt this attitude for themselves and their dogs.
Check out these posts for some ideas for adapting to changes in your dog’s health: