During the summer of 2007, the most adorable golden retriever puppy bounded into my yard and into my life. My neighbor had one puppy left and he found his way to me. Of course I scooped him up and let him in. I had visions of long hikes and companionship for years to come. And what a wonderful companion he has turned out to be. Playful, smart, and loving – I couldn’t have asked for more! I named him Sunny for all of the sunshine he has brought into my life. Over the first couple of months I had Sunny, I wondered if I should have named him Floppy because of the way he flopped over when playing with other dogs. Over time I found out that he has severe arthritis (already bone on bone) in both of his elbows and hip dysplasia in both of his hips. I was heartbroken. He was only six months old at the time of the diagnosis. His prognosis was that he would be crippled in his front elbows between the ages of 3-5.
Sunny did have arthroscopic surgery on both of his elbows to clean out the floating bone fragments. And then we entered into the world of alternative medicine for animals. For the first couple of years Sunny received acupuncture one time a week and responded to the treatments very well. He took supplements and participated in physical therapy.
Sunny has taught me to take him for shorter walks more often. He loves playing in creeks, rivers, and lakes. I had to learn to monitor his activity level, as he often has had more vitality than his joints could support. Sunny is a very social and loves hanging out at the office, coffee shops, or anywhere that someone might pet him.
Sunny is now 12 years old and I am happy to say that he is not crippled in his front elbows. Though he is getting creaky and his hip dysplasia is worsening. He is once again getting weekly acupuncture treatments to help with the discomfort. Lucky dog!