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    1. #1
      Senior Dog
      kimbersmom's Avatar
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      Five years ago today...

      We were in the midst of a (for us) brutal heatwave, with days in the high 90s and lower 100s. We came home after going to dinner with some friends and let Kimber outside. I decided it was too hot for a walk yet, but she was full of vim and vigor from being in the air-conditioned house so I brought out the tennis ball and racket so we could do some fetch. I'd hit the ball, she'd run to get it, just like usual. We'd only done this a few times when I hit the ball into the tall grass that borders our property. Kimber bounded into the grass- then started screaming. I dropped the racket and ran towards her; she reappeared from the grass, dragging herself by her front paws. Her back end was just gone.

      We rushed her to the emergency vet who said it was probably heat stroke and started her on IV solution. "We'll keep her for the night and she should be fine by tomorrow. We'll call you in the morning." We left, not convinced of the initial diagnosis. She'd been in a 68 degree house all day, and that scream. But there was nothing to be done but go home and cry and worry.

      That night, the derecho blew through. It was like a sideways tornado and about 50% of the houses in our region lost power. Phone lines were gone. As soon as we woke up, we drove to the e-vet, dodging power lines. The e-vet was running on a generator. The vet came out and said the good news was that Kimber's temperature was down- the bad news was that her back end was still not responsive. It wasn't heat stroke. We signed off on x-rays to check for disk issues and then got to visit with Kimber. She was alert but didn't seem to recognize us. We cried and cried and went back home with the agreement that we could come back the next day.

      The next morning, we had to wait for an emergency case to be resolved before we got to see our baby and talk to the vet. I felt horrible hearing the owners of the emergency case in the adjoining room; the dog had been hit by a car and wasn't likely to survive. The clinic was just a big sobfest. The vet finally had time to tell us that the x-rays didn't show anything but Kimber still was paralyzed. Did we want to get a referral to the Virginia Tech Animal Hospital? YES.

      We often joke about living in the middle of nowhere but one thing we do live close to is Virginia Tech, which has pretty much the only vet school in the region. People from DC come down to use VT. We drove Kimber over immediately. A huge stroke of luck: the canine neurologist's house was one of those without power so she had decided to hang out at the clinic, so she was available to immediately consult. They planned to do an MRI but the derecho had ripped a hole in the roof above the MRI room and it was temporarily unavailable, so instead they did a contrast test. The vet used all the tests to rule out anything operable and said it was most likely either an FCE (spinal stroke) or a high-impact spinal bruise caused by her backbone hitting her spine and then popping back into place. The heat had had nothing to do with it. Either way, the treatment was the same- palliative care and rehab.

      We brought Kimber home on July 3; she had regained her cheerful personality and was a favorite of the techs. We spent the day huddled on the floor with her, petting her. She seemed thrilled to be home and confused as to why her back end wasn't doing what she thought it should do. We set up a ramp to bring her outside (we have 3 steps that lead to the front door) and used a sling to support her back end. Thankfully, she still had function over her elimination.

      Another huge stroke of luck: a rehab vet that had been recommended to us by our agility trainer was in the process of setting up her practice less than 2 miles from us. Kimber was the first dog patient at the practice. With her guidance, we immediately began exercises and connected with a holistic vet who provided laser therapy and acupuncture. Little by little, she began to show movement in her tail and back legs. As soon as the rehab vet gave the okay, we started taking Kimber to our friends' pool to swim. This set her recuperation into hyperspeed; very quickly she didn't need to use the sling and the vet predicted she could be back to where she was before the injury.

      Well, we never got to that level of recovery but she got back about 80% where she was and I'll take that without complaint. We think it was probably a spinal bruise. Our vet hypothesizes that Kimber probably fell or jumped or tumbled extremely rough one day and it made her backbone a bit unstable. On June 29th, Kimber twisted or ran in exactly the wrong way, causing the backbone to hit her spine and go back into place.

      The final stroke of luck: this board. So many people here provided good advice (especially DaisyandMiia), shared rehab exercises, and- most important- showed interest whenever I had an update. My family and friends were sympathetic but I did my best not to talk *too* much about our latest struggles and challenges. But I knew I could come to this board and find a receptive audience. No one would say, "She's just a dog" or "HOW much are you spending?" or "It's not like she's a child, you know." It was always, always supportive.

      Kimber's slowing down now, but the vet says it's just normal 12-year-old lab stuff, not tied to her accident. I'm grateful to have had 5 more years with her, and try to treasure every day.

      Photos!

      Kimber puzzled about being kept in puppy prison right after her injury

      -kimber2012-jpg

      Kimber swimming with her life jacket- early rehab

      -kimberswim-jpg

      Kimber hiking in 2015, 3 years post-injury

      -kimberjune15-jpg
      Miss Kimber, CGC, birthdate 6/15/2005

      Hidden Content

    2. The Following 9 Users Say Thank You to kimbersmom For This Useful Post:

      barry581 (06-29-2017), Blackboy98 (06-30-2017), Charlotte K. (07-01-2017), Jeff (06-29-2017), MontananDakota (07-04-2017), POPTOP (06-30-2017), SamsonsMom (07-01-2017), Snowshoe (06-29-2017), Sue-Ram (06-30-2017)

    3. #2
      Senior Dog
      Jeff's Avatar
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      I remember this when this happened. I was scared for you guys but I also knew she was in good hands as you weren't going to give up on her. I am so glad to see her back and doing things. She has brought joy to us all through the years and I wish her many many more.

    4. The Following User Says Thank You to Jeff For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-29-2017)

    5. #3
      Senior Dog
      katALlabs's Avatar
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      Wow! Has it been that long!??? I remember the turmoil you went thru but your persistence and love paid off.
      Gracie - Yellow Lab - 10/23/2005
      Maddie - Chessie - 3/6/2010
      Pinks - Black Lab/Mix - Got ya 12/30/10

      At the Bridge
      Nozomi (Zoe) - BC/Lab - Got ya 9/5/2009 - 3/19/2015
      Abbey - Yellow Lab - Got ya - 5/8/2009 - 4/22/11
      Cheanna - Black Lab/Mix - Got ya 5/99 - 9/21/10
      Buddy (Bubba) - Black Lab/Mix - Got ya 11/2/02 - 3/28/10
      Amber - Yellow Lab/Dobi - Got ya 8/1989 - 5/15/01

    6. The Following User Says Thank You to katALlabs For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-29-2017)

    7. #4
      Senior Dog
      Snowshoe's Avatar
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      It doesn't seem all that long to me either. This is a good summary. It's hard to keep up with all that's going on when it's happening. I bet it was hard for you too, I bet you left a lot out but these main points might really help someone else facing a similar experience. I wasn't on this board when Jet's back went out and it was not as complicated as KImber's but I know I was in something of a daze at the time. Yay, Kimber, you go, girl.

    8. The Following User Says Thank You to Snowshoe For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    9. #5
      Senior Dog
      barry581's Avatar
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      I remember this all to well. All I can say is I'm happy that this special girl had such great parents, and such great care to come back for such a potentially catastrophic injury. Give Miss Kimber a good rub from me!

    10. The Following User Says Thank You to barry581 For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    11. #6
      Best Friend Retriever
      JackK's Avatar
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      I wasn't here for this one. That is material for nightmares.

      People told me with my prior chocolate lab who suffered a rotational fracture of the femur that she was extremely lucky to have me as an owner because no one else would have spent the money and effort to rehab her. She was 6 at the time of the accident and after 6 months of living with limited activity, she led an extremely active normal life until a stroke took her at 15. People here understand that it was I who was lucky to have found such a loyal loving sidekick.


      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

    12. The Following User Says Thank You to JackK For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    13. #7
      Senior Dog
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      POPTOP's Avatar
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      Remember this well; felt so bad for Kimber. She has done so well due to your diligence, great care and love. She's one lucky pup to have you and you're very lucky to have you.
      Hidden Content
      Kissing Bandit

    14. The Following User Says Thank You to POPTOP For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    15. #8
      Senior Dog
      Tanya's Avatar
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      Such an incredible story/journey for Kimber and you. We're all happy she recovered so well - I can't believe it's been 5 years!

    16. The Following User Says Thank You to Tanya For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    17. #9
      Senior Dog
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      Blackboy98's Avatar
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      5 years, what a journey Kimber and you have been thru. Good care and love is what brought Kimber thru this.

      Agree that this board is an exceptional group of people, so supportive, great empathy and a wealth of information.
      Hidden Content

      CRACKER-My Heart Dog FOREVER 6/10/2005-7/9/2011

      Mike and Gabe--GOTCHA 7/25/2011

    18. The Following User Says Thank You to Blackboy98 For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

    19. #10
      Senior Dog
      Macy's Avatar
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      I was a newbie then but remember following Kimber's story. Your devotion, patient determination and advocacy for Kimber brought her thru this. Thank you for sharing this again because it reminds me what I learned from Kimber's story- the baby steps of progress, the questions raised and researched on Kimber's behalf, and the support from board members who understood not only your pain but your resolution to help Kimber recover. Look at the Grande Dame now!

    20. The Following User Says Thank You to Macy For This Useful Post:

      kimbersmom (06-30-2017)

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