Day 10: Cindy

Cindy now has her wings. I know many of you already know Cindy's story. Sandy has written extensively about this sweet shepherd but iIn case you're not familiar with her rescue, recovery, and unfortunate passing I'll share some of Sandy's posts below.

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"For the last several years, she has been hidden away in a backyard that was so overgrown, when she went down and couldn't get up, no one even noticed. No one cared. This sweet dog has been suffering in silence for a very long time. Today has been a roller coaster of emotion for me. I have cried a million tears, searching my heart, praying for wisdom to know what is best for this dog. At first glance, when you see Cindy, struggle to stand, struggle to balance, struggle to stay upright on her own, it is devastating to watch. Your gut tells you, "She has suffered enough". But then your heart says, "She deserves every chance to experience love in her lifetime, however long that may be".

"I met this sweet dog for the first time today. I visited with her at the vet's office, where she is resting while we decide on a course of action to restore her mobility. My first impression was how calm and serene she is. There was no struggle to stand or even to move at all. She seems resolved to the fact that her hind legs can no longer hold her up. It broke my heart to see her so defeated and yet, she seems at peace and accepting of her limitations."

What you can't get past is the sadness in her eyes. They reflect a life of struggles. It makes me furious to think about all the pain she has been forced to endure. Her precious life has been wasted and I am not sure, at this point, if we can bring her back. But we will go down trying. 

"I found my answer today in Cindy's eyes. She wants to live. She wants to get back up on her own. You can actually see the longing in her eyes. So we are taking a Leap of Faith tomorrow and Cindy is going to have surgery on her back, hopefully, to relieve some of the pressure. There are no guarantees at this point but at least we will be giving her every chance possible, to regain some quality of life.I left the Veterinary Specialists Center today convinced that Cindy is in the best of hands with her surgeon. I left there convinced that she will be touched and comforted and loved by their compassionate staff over the next few weeks, while she goes thru rehab. I left there convinced that I made the right decision for her healing" 

"Cindy will be moved to Rehab in the morning at Mississippi State. We wanted her to have the very best of care after her surgery and they will be working with her around the clock, helping to build her strength back. Dr. Garcia suggested Cindy spend about 2 weeks in rehab, to get the greatest benefit from her surgery. She is already using a cart and moving around very well outdoors. Everything has gone extremely well and Cindy's spirits are good. She is eating good. I am sure she is Feeling the Love for the first time in a very long time. Today I got a very touching video of Cindy working on her Rehab. I couldn't get it to download here but she has adapted very well to her cart and continues to improve daily. They are working hard to build her strength back in her spine and build some muscle mass in her hind quarters, so that hopefully, she will regain some use of her hind legs over time."

 "We could have searched the world over and not found a more compassionate heart to care for Cindy. The last couple of days have not been easy on Cindy or her new caregiver. She and I have talked constantly about the challenges involved in caring for a dog with DM. It is life changing, to say the least. Cindy has very little mobility without the use of her cart. Nancy has had to make many changes to her daily routine, to see that this dog gets all the attention and care she needs. And she has risen to every obstacle. After many tears and concerns, today, everything seems to be falling together."

 "Cindy is now settled in her new home. Nancy and I talked for the longest time tonight about the challenges that Cindy will face with the advanced DM. Right now, she has no movement in her hind legs. Prior to her spinal surgery, Cindy was putting some slight weight on her left hind leg but she is not doing that now. She is still taking a lot of medications, which may be causing her to be weak. And she is still recovering from very major surgery. Only time will tell, if Cindy will be able to stand on her own again. Cindy can now move around her new home freely, with the use of her wheels. She has bonded very quickly with Nancy and wants to be right by her side at all times. She went to work with Nancy today. Tonight, one of Nancy's mares is about to give birth and she is sleeping in her barn to be close to her beloved horse. And right beside her pallet is a bed for Cindy, so she won't feel alone tonight. That speaks volumes about this amazing woman who has taken on such a huge commitment. She says, it is nothing, but I am in awe of her compassion. She clearly loves this sweet shepherd already and Cindy is exactly where she was meant to be.. In the presence of her very own Angel…"

"On a happy note, Cindy loves being outdoors. And in her cart, she can run like the wind. She discovered Nancy's horses today and was running the fence line with them. Nancy says, she is quite remarkable in her wheels. She's a happy, loving dog, even with her limitations. And she is very Blessed to have found her way to her new family. We are forever grateful to this loving, compassionate woman for making Cindy part of her life."

"In the corner of my office was a big stack of packages. Christmas presents for Cindy. It was my plan to meet up with Nancy and Cindy sometime before Christmas and deliver all of the sweet packages that had been donated in her honor. Beautiful blankets, precious toys, lots and lots of treats. Sadly, Cindy never got to receive her presents. She went to Heaven yesterday. Today, as I was distributing Christmas presents to our shelter dogs, I thought to myself, "Who would Cindy want to share her presents with?" And my heart turned to Harley. Harley is a white german shepherd and she is also close to the end of her journey here on Earth. She is 13 years old and struggles to get up most days. She doesn't have the horrible disease that Cindy had but her life hasn't been an easy one, none the less. Years of neglect have taken their toll on Harley. So today, Harley was showered with Christmas presents. She got lots of toys and soft blankets to lay on. It made her a very happy girl. I am sure that Cindy would approve...."