My Beautiful Trouble

My Beautiful Trouble

Friday, November 2, 2007

My Special Needs Dogs, Sheba & Trouble

Angel Trouble

7/15/97 - 4/14/08

I have developed this blog to help educate people on caring for a special needs pet. There are many wonderful internet support groups that provide help and resources for these caregivers, however, I would like to provide support from my personal experience in caring for my large, paralyzed beautiful German Shepherd, Sheba.

Angel Sheba

5/15/91 - 12/29/01

As many know, Sheba was my beautiful German Shepherd who had developed the incurable spinal cord disease, degenerative myelopathy. This is a disease where the myelin sheath around the spinal cord degenerates, causing paralysis. There is no known cure for this disease and many vets suggest euthanasia as they are not aware that a large paralyzed dog can live a quality life providing the caretakers are willing to enable him/her to do so.

Sheba developed this disease when she turned nine, had a dorsal laminectomy (back surgery) which did not help her condition, and fought a courageous battle with dignity. I turned to a holistic lifestyle consisting of acupuncture, chiropractic care, energy healing, massage therapy, magnetic therapy, homeopathic remedies, herbal supplements, special nutrition, a protocol based on the studies of Dr. Roger Clemens from the University of Florida, and mobility with the aids of wheelchairs and a Tylift. She also received hydrotherapy by means of a heated pool.

I made a website telling of Sheba's story a number of years ago. You can read her story at to learn more about her. Sadly to say, I lost my precious Angel in December of 2001 when her courageous battle was forced to come to an end. I had gained much knowledge in Sheba's care from reading many books on holistic health care, as I did not have the internet. When I finally did get the internet, Sheba's paralysis had spread to her neck which rendered her a quadriplegic. I thought that I would find many people caring for large breed quadriplegics but to my surprise, I only found 3 people who had this type of experience. I found myself providing support to many people contacting me through the internet. I wanted to help people through caring for my beloved Sheba so I produced the video "Caring For A Handicapped Pet: A Holistic Approach". Through this resource, any pet lover can see first hand what physical, mental, and spiritual strength are required to care for a beloved animal companion, and can also find valuable resources and some low cost ideas to help with this journey. It's been given a wonderful review in "The Whole Dog Journal" and was listed as a resource for handicapped pets in "Prevention" magazine.

Many people have asked me why I devoted my life to caring for Sheba... if I have to explain, then you wouldn't understand... but for those of you who do understand, we know that it can be very laborsome in providing the care our beloved special needs animal companions may require... but it is a labor of love.... and to receive the unconditional love, appreciative smiles and kisses was enough reward for the small price we had to pay to have been blessed with having these Angels in our lives. Sheba taught me so much in life, love, and dying.... she would have done the same for me.

Is There A Link Between The Metal Implants Used In TPLO Surgeries A Few Years Ago To Osteosarcoma? It's true that the plates used a few years ago were NOT MEDICAL GRADE... because they were NOT medical grade, they corroded at a faster rate than medical grade metal. Did your dog have a TPLO prior to and including 2004? Is your dog still alive? Has your dog developed a limp, and were you told your dog only has "arthritis?" If your dog had a TPLO and is limping, it's imperative you get professional care!!! This limp may be osteosarcoma... bone cancer!!! Get a second and third opinion if you have to! If your vet takes x-rays and tells you there's no tumor, please, take those x-rays to an oncologist or someone with experience in being able to read x-rays properly. How Many Dogs Have To Suffer And Die With This Aggressive Cancer Related To The Corrosion Of The Metals Used In These Plates???!!!!


My beautiful 10 year old German Shepherd/Husky, Trouble, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma the beginning of December, 2007. This is an aggressive bone cancer that spreads to the lungs. Trouble had the TPLO surgeries (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomies) in 2004 on his knees for torn anterior cruciate ligaments. He had the metal plate removed from his right leg as he had developed an infection to it so it was removed as soon as the bones had healed. However, the metal plate and screws were not removed from his left leg.... and sadly to say, this is where the cancer developed. One of the side effects to the TPLO is cancer as the metal may corrode overtime to the point where the corrosion in the bone causes cancer.

Because Trouble was in pain, limping (at first he was misdiagnosed as having arthritis), it was in his best interest to have the leg (rear left) amputated. This was done in the middle of December. He adjusted very well to the amputation, as he had been walking on three legs prior to the surgery. Traditional medical treatment consists of chemotherapy and radiation. However, this does not cure the cancer... so I have chosen to seek alternative treatments in Trouble because I love him and am concerned about the quality of his life and only want the best for him. I believe in building up his immune system.... not destroying it. So Trouble's holistic treatment involves Chinese herbs to fight the cancer and build the immune system, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massages, supplements, and hopefully soon he will have water therapy with an underwater treadmill to keep his muscles from atrophying and making them stronger.

He is such a trooper... he had been through so much 3 years ago with his tibial plateau leveling osteotomy knee surgeries and plate removal in his right leg and now this.... I am praying that the treatment he is on will enable him to fight the cancer and be the happy, loving dog that he is. Please keep him and all other animals suffering in your prayers. Thank you.

It is with extreme pain and sadness that I announce the passing of Trouble. Trouble lost his battle with the very aggressive osteosarcoma on April 14th, 2008. The cancer had metastasized to the vertebrae in his spine, leaving him paralyzed and in pain. The medical doctors and holistic doctors offered no hope for Trouble... putting it mildly, they failed him... from the time of his 'misdiagnosis' to the discrepencies in the treatment involving his holistic care. I have not had much faith in veterinarians for a long time... stemming from the time my beautiful 13 month old black German Shepherd had been hit by a car while being boarded with a veterinarian's indoor boarding facility (yes... she died the next day) to a number of other incidents in various facilities involving Sheba' s care.

The only good thing about Trouble's passing was that his traditional vet was very compassionate and came to our home to make Trouble's passing as peaceful as possible. If Trouble had to die to be pain free.... I am grateful that his veterinarian enabled it to be peaceful for him. Trouble died surrounded by those who loved him the most. He will live on in my heart forever. I know he is in heaven with Sheba (and Princess whom he never knew)..... he use to snuggle next to her after she had her back surgery and when she was paralyzed. They are together once again.

My babies, these are two of my favorite quotes, but I couldn't have said it better if I created them myself... "If love could have saved you, you never would have died.... And if dogs don't go to heaven when they die, then I want to go where they go."
A thought to ponder:
If all good dogs go to Heaven, then where do all bad vets go?


Shar said...

Hi Debbie,

Let me be the first to comment on your wonderful blog in honor your beloved Sheba. You are a very special, loving and caring woman to do what you did for your Sheba and I know if she were here today, she would give you the biggest smile and kiss ever!! I know she's smiling down at you from the Rainbow Bridge and thanking you for being the World's Best Mommy!

I met you a few years ago through one of the many websites out there that try to help people going through what you went through with Sheba. I was going through my own journey with my very best friend, Presley, my Dalmatian who was suffering from degenerative disc disease which is somewhat similiar to DM in that it is a slow but progressive paralysis.

You were there for me at a very sad and agonizing period of my life when I realized that Presley and I were losing the battle. I just wanted to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart for being there for us during that terrible time. I wish I would have known you when Sheba was still alive so that I could have given you some comfort when you went through your loss.

Please know that I'm here if you ever need a shoulder to cry on and thank you for all that you do for the animals. You are a true friend to animals, just like your email address and a friend of mine as well.

Take care and keep in touch.

Your friend,
Shar Fleming
Presley's Mom

P.S. This is a wonderful idea to have your own blog and I will definitely look into creating one of my own. All the best!

Shar said...

Dear Debbie and Trouble, It's an honor to be the first comment on your updated blog regarding your beloved Trouble. I am SO VERY SORRY that you are going through something like this again but I know what a strong and determined Doggy Mom you are and that your love for Trouble will get your through this. Please know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. I know you and Trouble will fight this disease tooth and nail and, with you by his side, he has the VERY BEST chance for having the longest, happiest and most comfortable life as possible!

You hang in there girl and please keep me posted on Trouble's progress...notice I say progress because, if anyone can fight this, it's YOU!!! Stay strong and know that we all care about you and are here for you if you ever need us.

Take care and please give all your furry ones kisses from me and mine!

Your Friend,
Presley's Mom, Shar & the gang
Maggie, Molly, Kelli, Jersey, Bo & Rocky