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Something Wrong


A couple weeks before Christmas, Shelby came to our door in the middle of the night. She was in her normal good spirits, but dragging her two left paws, and slipping on our floor — a lot. Steven spent the following wee hours of the morning sparing me from the worry and letting me sleep, while searching for what the symptoms might mean. As is typical with medical searches on the Internet, none of the prognoses were good.

What followed was back-to-back vet visits to diagnose what could be wrong. It's only on her left side. Pinched nerve? Was it a stroke? Is her face droopy? Well, um, she's a pug. Her whole face is droopy on the best of days. X-rays, lab tests, MRIs of her neck and head produced no definitive results.

The bills racked up, but mostly we had the feeling of frustration as modern medicine failed to produce any answer that would give us a definitive course of action.

When the vets proposed Shelby go under anesthesia again for a spinal tap, Steven and I both agreed that Shelby deserved a break. Shelby is normally terrified of visiting the vet, but by now she was so tired, she didn't put up any fight. Steven took her home to rest, and give her a break from all this.

For the next few days, he gave her what he likes to call, "the 'Babe' treatment," hand feeding her treats, singing to her, pulling out all the stops to make her feel comfortable and loved.

And she felt better! By Christmas she was back to her normal self. Begging for treats, shadowing the kids. Steven called her our Christmas miracle. I teased her about being our little Tiny Tim. 

But two days ago, Shelby started showing signs of stiffness and pain while walking. She walked down the hill with Vin and Steven, but couldn't make it up on her own. Her tail was down. No barking at birds. She ate and drank, but showed little interest in treats, even the bite of tri tip we gave her. She was really tired. And then yesterday was a good day. Her spirits and mobility were up, and she was prowling for treats with the best of them. Today is also proving to be a good day for her so far.

It's a bit unreal to me that this uncertaintly might be just the normal state of affairs from now on. I still think of her as that sweet puppy we brought home 10 years ago. As for whether or not we take her back for more tests, it depends on what signs Shelby gives us, if she is struggling, or in pain.

Steven and I want to give her the same happiness and comfort she has given to us, all these years.


December 30, 2013 | Permalink


Oh, Shelby, I'm so sorry that you aren't feeling well. Nothing to do but send lots of love and good thoughts for a swift recovery.

Posted by: Bo | Dec 30, 2013 4:18:19 PM

Poor poor shelby. wonder if she is having some arthritis issues? My lil Fredbird (who is 6) has shown some of the signs Shelby did (not the draggin of the entire left side but all other). 2 yrs ago we took him in and Long story short, they prescribed doggie muscle relaxers and stated he would undoubtedly have arthritis (xray showed cartlidge missing from hind leg) and if got too bad we would go over our options. since then we he shows signs of sluggishness we just baby him, encourage him to use his doggie steps (yes, we bought them! :O) ) and let him sleep. cooler weather tends to add the pep back in his step. Good luck with shelby...I can understand how heart breakign it is not to have any answers when you know you furbaby isn't feeling great.

Posted by: tori | Dec 30, 2013 6:55:20 PM

by the way my lil fredbird is a fawn pug. We also have a black pug name Frankie (he's two and half).

Posted by: tori | Dec 30, 2013 6:56:07 PM

we used to have these symptoms with our Kricket sometimes to we used to use a heating pad for her..most likely muscles spasams...perhaps Shelby slipped and strained muscles too. They can take a while to heal...and will act up anytime she moves wrong or slips...

Posted by: Ann | Dec 31, 2013 12:12:31 AM

Get well soon , little sweetheart. Take it easy on the playing...We , none of us , are getting any younger ! Keep us up to date Winnie , please .Shelby has shared our lives for a long time ! Luv ya Shelby

Posted by: Ann | Dec 31, 2013 12:20:48 AM

Oh, Shelby - if only you could talk! Have you considered acupuncture? My first pug, Hank (who looked exactly like Shelby, BTW) had a ruptured disc and back surgery. As he aged, his back legs became weaker and acupuncture seemed to help...hope she's feeling better soon!

Posted by: Lisa | Dec 31, 2013 5:54:09 AM

Sending happy, healing thoughts to Shelby.

Posted by: leslie | Dec 31, 2013 10:56:45 AM

I'm praying for you and Shelby. She is such a sweetie.

Posted by: J.D. | Dec 31, 2013 6:11:51 PM

Ahh- hope she feels better and best wishes to my second favorite pug (my first of course is my own!) hope it is temporary and she bounces back to her usual self.

Posted by: ari wagner | Jan 1, 2014 1:45:34 PM

Considering everything is a act of kindness for Shelby.

Shelby you are SO cute.


Posted by: edie | Jan 1, 2014 6:30:00 PM

Oh, dear Winnie and Family, sorry to hear about Shelby, but glad she mustered her courage and limped or crawled to your room and you took action right away by taking her to the vet. I hope the vet or the symptoms can reveal what is going on with Shelby's body. I hope it is something that can be treated so that Shelby can remain her feisty and protective big sister over your sons and a cherished family member for many years to come. Keeping Positive Thoughts for your precious fur-baby.

Posted by: Jade | Jan 1, 2014 11:56:50 PM

a visit to a rehabilitative vet might help. my vet, dr schwabe, is a certified veterinary acupuncturist, chiropractor, and runs a full service rehab center for dogs. she used to run a general veterinary practice, then went back to school to be a rehab specialist. it's worth a try. my pug sam has seizure disorder which is controlled by acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I am sick about Shelby, have grown to love her so very much. what did her bloodwork show?

Posted by: nadine dickie | Jan 3, 2014 3:08:50 AM

praying to blessed st francis for Shelby.

Posted by: nadine dickie | Jan 3, 2014 3:10:51 AM

Oh my dear Shelby and Winnie, prayers from Colorado. I have followed Shelby since the blog was set up as I had become a pug grandmother to Baxter who is the same age. This all tears at my heartstrings, will hope for a good outcome.

Posted by: Mary | Jan 4, 2014 5:48:32 PM

Dear Winnie, if you would be so kind as to post any progress on Shelby, we are all worried about Shelby. Thank you so much.January 7, 2014.

Posted by: Jade | Jan 7, 2014 9:51:34 AM

yes, Winnie, please post an update, we love Shelby so very much. have you given any thought to my suggestion of a rehabilitative vet? Chinese medicine can work miracles, my Sam is proof of that.

Posted by: nadine dickie | Jan 7, 2014 3:03:58 PM

Shelby means a lot to all of us. We hope you are having good senior puggy days.


Posted by: edie | Jan 7, 2014 6:59:04 PM

Shelby means a lot to all of us. We hope you are having good senior puggy days.


Posted by: edie | Jan 7, 2014 6:59:04 PM

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