Sunshine Courage’s Bed-on-Wheels

Updates on Sunshine:

Sorry this update comes later than promised as I had a full weekend bathing and grooming our dogs at home and then making Sunshine’s new bed, relocating her and getting the logistics set up in her new space. We are now settling into the new space and doing well.
Sunshine just passed the 2-week home quarentine/isolation period that we impose at home for all rescue dog we foster. This is to be careful of any infectious conditions that may surface and may affect our own home animals which consist of fosters and permanent residents (7 dogs and 2 cats).
It was also time to get her out of isolation as she turned out to be a pretty young dog and from my assesment which could even be 1year or just below and as such she would be wanting company and stimulation.
Sunshine has been relocated to our dining area which means that she can see us more often and enjoy the company of the whole family, ie humans, cats and dogs. It also enables me to observe her better as I had informed you late last week that she has been trying to sit up and also stand up even though her hind legs were not functioning to enable her to stand.
Since her trauma injury has rendered her spine unstable, and since we have chosen to opt for conservative management of the spinal cord injury without surgery, it is imperative that she is kept from bearing weight on her spine for a minimum period of 8 weeks up to 12 weeks and assist in the best possible way to allow her body to do the best it can at healing.
I believe in recycling and reusing so I made Sunshine’s bed from a wooden pallet that I found thrown out. Castor wheels were fixed on with rusty old screws that came from another piece of found old wood. Then the bed was layered with a baby mattress (meant for my dogs but repurposed) and then covered with a waterproof umbrella material liner to prevent soiling.
The wheels makes it more efficient to clean her space and in future when she is more stable, we will be able to wheel her to different locations in the home for more stimulation and company.
Her bed size has been reduced in hope to curb her urge to try and stand up and walk, for now. Reducing the size of her space however does not achieve that completely as she can still attempt to sit and stand repeatedly which can also do as much damage. I have an idea of how to make a “ceiling” when I can find time soon because I believe it will help to curb this behavior more effectively then just reducing sideways space.
The bed is raised so that its easier on my back 😉 when we do the twice a day physio routine. The physio routine is to keep her joints functioning, reduces pain and stiffness and encourages circulation. Since it is passive, it does not require any “work” from the patient but only from the therapist as it does not stress the skeletal structure. Then she also gets the deep tissue massage which will improve circulation, reduce stiffness and tension in the muscles that provides relief.
Daily nursing:
  • Prevention of bed sores: She has to be turned every 3 hours and half the time she turns side on her own. Mostly she uses her trunk muscles to do this but she has sometimes shown to do little cycling movements with her hind legs to help with the turning. So far there has been no reoccurence of pressure sores save for the 1st one at the beginning of last week which resolved quickly with increased regular turning.
  • Bladder and bowel care: Sunshine has partial control over her bladder and bowels although it is difficult to acertain how much control. She still requires manual assistence to clear her bowels and bladder 3times a day and needs wiping down 3times a day to prevent urine and poo burns. The manual assistence is to hopefully prevent any urinary track infections which can quickly happen if the bladder is not emptied out daily. Bedding needs to be changed twice a day and I have been using newspaper and towels to keep her cool on top of the waterproof liner. She is in diapers after I go to bed and when I’m out at work. I have written to Kate today to ask if she still has used sheets to give away as I can sew them into bed pads and they are more easily washed and dried then towels. One of the challenges of taking care of a paralysed life is making the work flow of caring/nursing smooth and the dealing efficiently with the endless washing and drying of bedding materials. I have caught her having a good nibble snack of her poo sometimes and I think it is possible that it comes from a earlier conditioning if she did not have enough food/nutrition then they try and get it from recycling their poo for food and possibly because she knows that her poo now contains good nutrition. It could also be that she does not want her resting space to be dirty and does the necessary housekeeping measures herself.
Like most strays, she does not respond to toys as it is mostly a taught appreciation by humans. She certainly prefers chomping on the ribs I get her to keep her stimulated, entertained and engaged. This plus the physio helps to reduce frustration and also helps to limit her restlessness and urge to wriggle too much.
All in all she is doing amazingly well. My first goal of stabilizing and preventing deterioration is just about realised but will also be ongoing as each phase of her wellness will present new challenges. The next goal is to asses her bowel and bladder control. However I feel it is still early as she has been showing constant little signs of change and improvement and this area too may change over time.
Also, I’d like2 thank Malini who came by to visit Sunshine and when she was here she suddenly noticed..and said ” Hey! She’s chewing an itch on her hind leg!” Yes and indeed she was which meant that she had some sensation in her hind legs. Another good day!!
Malini kindly donated her own dog’s kennel boards without hesitation on the very day 1st day I took Sunshine home which have come in useful when Sunshine needs to be bathed.
My dear friend Malini herself has been through a similar time with her 2 beloved German Shepards, nursing them with awesome commitment and love despite having a very demanding job herself.
Have a good week ahead!

Reusing discarded wooden pallet.

Reusing old screws from other wood.

Sunshine’s very own Bed-On-Wheels!

Sunshine attempting to sit up on her own….

Expressing bladder for urine…and a happy little smile from Sunshine!

Asleep with Squeaky Piggy.