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Kye's Story

Donít give up

Some of you may have seen Debbie Williams' little guy Kye at shows, especially the Northern ones. Most people nod and smile in approval. Kye has been using wheels to get around for the last 19 months after an injury two and a half years ago. Kye was receiving treatment but, by the time that Debbie found someone who knew what they were doing, it was too late. The damage had been done but she never gave up.

Kye began his agility career with my husband John who won him out of Starters and into Novice (G4). Their proudest moment was winning the Woodside Starters trophy. When John had a period of time when he was not able to compete on a regular basis due to work commitments, I agreed to run him instead. Kye really loved his agility and would ignore people to watch the dogs fire from the start line. It would have been a shame to deprive him of his fun.

 Kye had a couple of Jumping wins in G4 and was ready to progress to G5 when he was injured. The injury that showed in his shoulder was now showing in his lower back and, by May 2009, Kye was finding it quicker to get around around on three legs instead of four. We did go to see a specialist surgeon who gave him a 25% chance of maintaining what he had but surgery was more likely to make it worse, so we opted to see what happened with chiropractic adjusts and physio. 

At this point he was on painkillers and had become incontinent. Our specialist surgeon offered to put him to sleep as Kye was a 'walking sprinkling machine!' But he was still willing to go for walks and was eating well. The walks were somewhat limited due to his discomfort and the fact I had to support him with a towel under his waist which caused me some discomfort, too.

The day came in early October 2009 when I got him out of bed to find he had finally lost the use of his back legs. Even though he was in much pain, he still wanted to go for a walk when I took the others. Thinking it may be his last walk I took him and we spent time sitting in the field watching the others. When Kye wanted to be off I used a scarf to lift his rear and, to be honest, I couldn't keep up with him. His eyes lit up and he seemed to forget the pain. I wasn't going to give up if he wasn't.

We kinda knew that if he was in that much pain following the weekend, we had to do what we had to do. We didnít want him living on pain killers for the rest of his life. But, as the weekend progressed, the medication kicked in. He become more comfortable and was so full of life that we had to give him a chance. He was already adapting to his situation. We ordered the wheels and a proper harness. Once they came, there was no stopping him.

The wheels gave him his life back
To be honest they gave the rest of the pack their life back, too as we could go back to doing most of our usual walks once Kye had regained his fitness. He was slowly weaned off the medication as, by this point, the nerves supplying his rear quarters had died so he no longer suffered pain. Although this also rendered him completely incontinent, he is quite happy to wear his pants, and we are quite happy to have this slight inconvenience if he is happy.

So here we are 19 months later about to celebrate his 9th birthday. At home he can be shy with stranger but soon comes round and tries to involve them in a game of fetch.  We have had some great times with him that we would not have had if we had taken the decision to PTS. My hubby John, who got Kye as his first agility dog, always says he couldn't look him in the eye and do that. Kye is so full of life and happy why would we?

Kye still has regular checkups with our Chiropractor, Zoe Fossey, to keep his front end in good working order. He no longer requires pain killers and happily enjoys his food. He loves to be outside, just watching and waiting for something to happen, and he is first to the van when it's time for walkies!

I wanted to write this to let people know there is no need to give up. So Kye canít do agility anymore. A few years ago he would have been put to sleep. However, this week he celebrates his 9th birthday. With the use of his wheels, he loves nothing better than to go for walks across the fields, on the beach, in the woods, to splash in the river or even better, practise his agility turns on the exercise arena at Richmond Equestrian centre! He still does agility in his own way, using the jump wings and poles on the ground, and to anyone who has trained with Tarny, they will understand when I say he is still our best dog at backwards boll***s!!

I would hate to think anyone ended up in this situation, but I would like to ask you to consider the fact that a dog can still have a happy life whether he has four, three or two legs... if you only give them a chance.

Special thanks to Zoe Fossey for her continued support, Barnard Castle Vets especially Steve and Richard and to the DogMobile company for the best invention since sliced bread!! And not forgetting Leanne of www.animateanimalminding.co.uk for her part in Kye's care.

About the author...
Debbie Williams
has been doing agility for 13 years. She started out with her first Weimaraner Willow, and is now running Weimies, collies and staffies. For the past 11 years, she has run the Weimaraner Agility League, supporting a breed which she has always had a soft spot for.

Debbie works for a pharmaceutical company as an Occupational Hygienist. Other than agility she enjoys gardening, DIY and walking.

First published 4 June 2011