I am delighted today to have a guest post from Bobbie Mayer PhD, author of the newly published book Corgis on Wheels: Understanding and Caring for the Special Needs of Corgis with Degenerative Myelopathy or Disk Disease.
the Wheelcorgis Yahoo group or head of the CorgiAid Cart Loan program. Perhaps you’ve read some of Dr. Mayer’s articles for Corgi publications on Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD), Rally for
wheelchair dogs, and carts for Corgis. You might even know her from her day job as a Professor of Chemistry at Cal State Fresno!
newsletters. For a few years I had a book in the back of my mind. They
always say “Write about what you know,” so when I thought about a book,
what I know includes chemistry, and that’s not as much fun to write
about — besides which there are plenty of books — and wheelcorgis. I
knew about wheelcorgis, so I wrote my book about them. In fact, the
working title was “Everything Wheelcorgi”, a takeoff on CorgiAid’s Everything Corgi book. It changed to Corgis on Wheels for publication
because not everyone is familiar with “wheelcorgi”, a term I made up! When
I started the Corgis on Wheels Yahoo group in 2006, I used “wheelcorgi”
as part of the Yahoo address, and the term took off. Millie put it in
print in her Watching books (also published by CorgiAid.)
the book I address questions we commonly see on the Yahoo
list. “Is this DM? What kind of cart should I get? What do I do, my
Corgi won’t use the cart? What kind of boots work? How do you handle
incontinence? How do you know when it’s time to let go?” I also included
a chapter on activities for wheelcorgis; our dogs are often not
content to be couch potatoes, and people will be surprised at how many
things they can still do and enjoy. In the “How-to” appendices there are
practical things like making boots and belly bands, and fun ones
on how to make skis and para-agility equipment.
edited it and did a ton of work to make it happen. Kay Daniels did the
layout, and Julia deBeauclair, whose black-headed tri-color wheelcorgi Cardi Terrance is on
the title page, did the cover. But more than that, a lot of other
people contributed. They took photos and sent them to me, read drafts or
chapters, wrote up how-to’s and so on.
In January I sent out a
call to the Wheelcorgis group for a picture of a bunny butt in a cart
(to illustrate proper fit as seen from the back) and Zelda’s famous
tushie ended up in the book.
Last fall, my camping friend Teresa’s Corgi Zhoie had a ruptured disk, and when Teresa called me from the ER
on Labor Day, I told her to take a picture of Zhoie sitting there. I’d
been wanting a picture that showed a Corgi hunched over and shaking in
pain from a back injury, and of course that’s impossible to stage.
illustration: Nancy Eckert
Teresa took the picture, then artist Nancy Eckert drew a sketch from it to
exaggerate the features that are harder to see in a photo — Zhoie’s
obvious distress and hunched appearance. If you see your Corgi sitting
like that and shaking, get to a vet quickly. I’m happy to say Zhoie
had surgery and is walking again, although her CorgiPals fund could
still use some donations.
DM much later than the initial DM chapter. It may sound like a
contradiction when I say in chapter three that life isn’t over with DM,
and then later on describe the final stage of DM, but that’s the truth;
many dogs with DM do not die of it, as Corgis tend to be
older when they get it. And they often have a few good years left.
Corgis on the book cover are Oliver (Cardigan) and Candy (Pembroke).
Candy is now thirteen and has been nine years in a cart! When their Corgi goes down, some people are told that being a cart dog is not a
good quality of life, but I think Candy could argue with that. He’s
spent about 70% of his life as a cart dog and is a pretty happy guy.
Oliver is almost eight and on his second year in a cart. It hasn’t
slowed him down a bit. When I take Oliver and Jack, my able-bodied Pem,
also eight, for a walk, Oliver is the one out front pulling me and Jack
along. Candy is a lot slower now due to a sore shoulder and I don’t walk
him much when we are in Fresno, as the cement sidewalks are are very hard
these two wheelcorgis I had Merlin, who had DM, and Wesley, who had
what was probably a traumatic disk injury. There is a lot about Merlin
in the book because he is the dog I saw through DM. He was very
photogenic but the truth is, before DM I didn’t have a lot of good
pictures of him because he’d come running to the camera when I tried.
One of my favorites has him emerging from an agility tunnel with a
little leap of joy as he saw me again. He hated taking his eyes off of
me to go through a tunnel.
Corgis on Wheels: Understanding and Caring for the Special Needs of Corgis with Degenerative Myelopathy or Disk Disease is ready for pre-order purchase from CorgiAid HERE. The special pre-order discount price is $22.50 plus shipping; for the discounted price, mail orders need to be postmarked
by Saturday, May 4 and PayPal orders need to be in by Sunday, May 5.
After publication the price from CorgiAid will be $25.00 (plus
shipping). Pre-orders are expected to ship by May 22nd.
Candy doing agility in wheels
Oliver swimming in his cart