Sunshiny stories of Sunshine!

Happy updates from my friend who is fostering, looking after and rehabilitating Sunshine Courage:

Hi Kah Yein,
The end year festive season and the visit of my parents for Christmas and the New Year just made the days fly past. We also have had new challenges with Sunshine.
Sunshine has so much renewed energy!! She is probably getting “cabin fever” and sometimes stretches her neck out of her play pen to grab her posters with her mouth and chew on them. It’s time to get creative to keep her occupied and stimulated appropriately too. She chews on her happy toy rope and constantly licks at her water bottle to entertain herself.
She’s really attentive and easy to teach new things. From the time she came to us I taught her to “wait” before i give the “ok” for her to eat so that she would not gobble but eat calmly. She has really mastered this and now we’ve extended it to placing a treat on each paw and she can sit and wait until the “ok” is given to happily woolf down the little treat.
Sunshine tries to move as much as she can whenever she finds the opportunity. Her activity level is still restricted as I am still keeping this to at least the 10week mark when hopefully any injury she had would have stabilised. It has been a challenge to keep her for scooting off whenever she finds the window. She can easily sit up and move about by using her front legs and her strong trunk to lift the hind quarters. A week and a half ago she started trying to use her hind legs, in particular her stronger right hind leg. She learnt to use her right hind leg like a stiff peg leg to prop her hind quarters when she moved. This week she is actually is using her right hind to some degree. The left hind leg is weaker leg but I’m seeing some small degree of function coming back too.
We took her to the vet last week. Had her all geared up with a harness specially made for handicapped dogs that gives very secure and sturdy support to the trunk. These harnesses were developed for serch and rescue dogs as they often have to be lifted in and out of tight spaces. I have been concerned as Sunshinehas been having several days on and off where she is peeing 8-10times a day. From my description of her symptoms, my vet does not feel it is cystitis. Sunshine has also been whining and barking very loudly several times a day and I’ve been trying to figure otu what’s causing this new behavior. Partly she is feeling some boredom and calls for me as she is most attached to me. Partly when she pees or poos she practically screams for me to come and help clean up as she really does not like her sleeping place to be dirty to the extent that she quickly laps uo her pee or goobles her poo and it’s a race for me to try and get to it before her everytime I’m home.
Since we were at the vet’s, I also got her vaccinated too.
At the vet’s, we let Sunshine out of the carrier and let her move as she chose to observe her progress or changes. She was able to move around without difficulty although without the full function of the hind legs. My vet was very positive and said that at this stage ofSunshine’s progress, he felt that she has already achieved a life of quality. My aim for her rehab has always been about mobility and function. Despite her hind legs not returning to full function at this stage, she can move around without difficulty which in practical everyday terms means she can poo and pee and get out of the way after that and not have to lie in it. So in this sense she can function even without her hind legs fully functional.
The vet’s advise, which I also agreed on, was to take another xray of her spine at week10 to see if she has stabilised. If she has stabilised, it means I can take her to another level and actually actively work and focus on her rehab to walk. We would also want to take a closer look at her organs to see if there is any organ damage as her stomach upsets could be due to a subnormal functioning of her digestive system eg if the pancrease is
Sunshine of late has deveoped more frequent stomach upsets and whines a lot and this sometimes subsides when she has made a poo. I am keeping a proper record/observation for the next few days and will probably get the vet to review what may not be going right.
Last weekend we took Sunshine out to the garden with the company of our other dog as she was doing one of her incesscent barking episodes. Unfortunately it did not stop her barking and I had a difficult time understanding why she was behaving this way. The mystery has not been solved so I’ll continue to observe her.
Sunshine’s last (5th) acupuncture session went well. All the needles that Dr Susanna put in went it very smoothly without any resistence- which Dr Susanna explains as there is no blockage and her pulse and tongue were all doing vey well. Dr Susanna recommends that we only need to do the acupuncture sessions once a fortnight.
My mum has also been so helpful in lending a hand to bath her and also give her some attention as I would like to encourage her to not get too overly attached to me which is probably difficult as there is always a special and close indescribable bond between handicapped pet and caregiver. My parents are so fond of her so she gets attention from them too.
I’m not sure if I updated earlier but her tail can twitch at times when previously it was totally “dead”. I just looked at her early days photos and I could see that when she tried to sit up, her body was hunched in pain and she had so much difficulty to do it. Now she does it effortlessly and if she is not moving, one can hardly tell she has a disability
Tonight I tried something different and took Sunshine out of her playpen when I was catching up with my email and work on the computer. I puayt her on a gentle harness to ensure that she would not scramble away and as she is familair with the command “lie down” from Day1, she just wanted to lie by my chair as I worked on my laptop. In fact she has not done her barking episode since she has been sleeping by my chair. I will do this once a day at night so she learns the routine and hopefully can wait for this time instead of barking the house down several times a day.
I’ll email you the updated spending by this week. Thank you and I just read your blog and your cats look pretty happy in their new home!!

Boredom turns to chewing…

See, I can do it!

I got it! One down, another to go!

Hanging out with friends on a sunny day.

With happy face toy.

All rigged up for visit to vet.

Sunny vaccination.

For a change of scene.

Hanging out with family.


Keeping me company.

Looking back…seven weeks ago.

Sunshine has certainly come a LONG way from the time she was rescued in Cheras after being beaten up by residents until her spinal chord broke. Sunshine was confirmed paralysed as her back bone was completely obliterated. By western veterinary practice, she was a case for euthanasia because she would never walk again and she had no owner who would care for her. However, since it is our policy to do our very best for the wellbeing of every animal who comes our way, we opted for non-mainstream treatments such as acupuncture, stem cell tech, homeopathy, physiotherapy, but most importantly, LOTS of tender-loving, skillful and experienced caregiving which my friend had so graciously provided for the last 7 weeks. Without this last ingredient, Sunshine would not have been able to make so much progress and achieve this level of wellbeing thus far. For this, I thank my friend from the bottom of my heart, for her very generous, loving and committed caregiving, and to all of you, for helping out in all ways (donations, forwarding links, prayers, positive vibrations, etc.).

Thank you, everyone.

More updates:

Sunshine still does her days (maybe the sparodic 3 days a week) of very frequent peeing like up to 8-10 times. She also seems to drink quite a lot more than the average dog. I’m wondering if you think I should take her to another vet for a look over. Remember her panting earlier on that got me worried. She still does it quite occasionally. Her once a weekly diarhea still goes on and she seems to have some gastric/gas problem which may also be the cause of her barking and whining. I’ve just started keeping a close daily record of all this. I’m not sure if all this is something mild or serious and would like to seek your opinion if we should let another vet have a look at her.
Here’s the latest spending for Sunshine:
6 in 1 Vax at Dr Dom      RM 25
Cranberry juice               RM 16.90
Ultracarbon 1 strip          RM 4.50
Alucid tablets 2 strips     RM 4.40
San Ren Tang 25g herbal medicine fr Dr Susanna
         RM 50
PetPet diapers               RM 19.80
Carrefour diapers           RM 11.45
Underpads       RM42
Total:                               RM 174.05
I hope all these items are ok and also would like to know if its ok for me to purchase another bottle of Stem Tech through Joan for sunshine. I think it is RM180 per bottle of 90 capsules. Sunshine has been taking 3caps/day and now i have reduced it to 2caps per day so the next bottle should last 1.5months.
How should I pass you the receipts pls?
I’m now using cheaper diapers and have tried 2 types. We don’t need to use the Mamy Poko which is the “premium” brand for diapers as she isn’t peeing as much as when she was on steriods and as such the regular brands work ok.
Of course, we will be sponsoring the next bottle of Stem Tech for Sunshine. Our pledge right from the start was to do as much as we can to help her achieve better wellbeing and we are committed to providing the finances for it. We have also reimbursed the RM132.05. For all the tender-loving and committed care, that is something we will never be able to repay in any way as it is immeasurable.
My friend will be taking her parents back to Singapore, and Sunshine is currently under the foster care of Kim.
Still more updates:
My plan for Sunshine had been to limit movement during her conservative management of injury for 12 weeks. We have now reached the 7th week and she is looking so very healthy despite small hiccups with her digestion and bladder which I hope to be able to sort out with the vet next week.
The biggest challenge we are facing now is her eagerness to move and walk. She escaped from her playpen 2 days ago and did it several times in a row. Yesterday we raised the height of her play pen and felt relieved that the problem was fixed. Before long she also managed to heave herself over the playpen fence and I found her snoozing in the living room when i woke up this morning. I will have to try and borrow a proper 3×3 cage to keep her safely confined as pets have been know to strangle themselves to an unfortunate end on these wire-type cages. Within the confines of her playpen and cage, she happily sits up and walks around. There is not much else to do to furthur confine her and she seems so eager to try. I am looking forward to the xray we take next week in hope that it can tell us if her spinal injury is stable enough for her to be engaging in this level of activity and more.
Today I took her to Kim’s for boarding for the next few days as we have to drive my parents home. Kim herself has a paralysed dog whom she rescued from a big drain several years ago so she is familiar with the care of their special needs. Sunshine seemed happy and it would be good for her to get a change of scenery as another challenge we face is since the care is so intense, the attachment between caregiver and special-needs animal also tends to get very intense and already she is so attached to me that she is going through some seperation anxiety and barks and whines when I leave for work. But i know she is in good hands with Kim.

Resigned to higher walls

Looking good at boarding place.

Happy weekend boarding, Sunshine.
You’re in good hands.

Many thanks to Kim for providing this foster care.
We will reimburse Kim from our funds for her time and willingness in providing this weekend boarding for Sunshine.