Story submitted 2005-04-15
Chloe, a special needs dachshund, joined the Kitchens family on 22 Jan 2005. That family includes Peepers Sweetie, my late Mother's 15-year-old mini-dachsie; Border, a black and white cat; and Dwight, my husband of 35 years (and I'm Phyllis).
We live almost full-time in a 40-foot-long motor home, traveling across the country. Dwight teaches and consults on Top Producer, a computer program used by real estate agents to improve client service. As nearly full-time RVers, not being at a fixed address seemed to complicate the adopting process. The DRNA home inspection was accomplished at my sister's house, with the RV parked in her driveway. Arranging Chloe's delivery to a moving target must have been a challenge to the transportation coordinator.
Chloe was fostered by Kristin Kelly and family in Ohio. The Kelly's did a terrific job of rehabilitating Chloe after her back surgery. The first vet I took her to commented on the good muscular development in her hind legs. Chloe was delivered to us by a network of wonderful people starting late one cold, snowy night. The long-haul trucker who drove her from Ohio seems to have made a terrific impression on Chloe. Whenever we take a break at a rest area on the interstate, Chloe gets extremely excited and pulls hard on her leash to go over to the big trucks.
Chloe immediately settled into our routine, with one notable exception: She has made Border's life miserable. Poor Border has to hide behind barriers in the front of the RV to keep Chloe from attacking him. Some days Chloe tries to nap with Peepers in the same pet bed. Peeps would rather sleep alone, but usually allows Chloe to share for a while. As Kristin had told us, Chloe is a "Daddy's girl." She adores Dwight and demands to sit on his lap.
Watching Chloe taking a walk puts a smile on my face. She waddles along with an animated, rolling gate. Her hind legs don't track behind her front legs, but cross each other under her body. Her head and tail swing from side to side as she struts briskly, her wide eyes bright, and mouth pulled up in a goofy smile. She looks like she owns the world. Chloe hasn't got a clue that she's handicapped.
We're slowly building up the length of Chloe's walks, but all that exaggerated action wears her out pretty quickly. Most mornings she's stiff and tries to drag her hind legs, but after a few admonitions of "Use your legs, Chloe", she gets all four going at the same time.
Chloe surprised us the first time she picked up a leash in her mouth and brought it to us. Her eyes clearly said, "Please! I need to go out NOW!" Chloe amuses us when she sleeps, too. She makes little groans and snorts most the night. She sleeps in an elevated pet bed right beside the "big bed" in the RV.
Chloe's bladder control isn't perfect, and she's been treated twice for urinary tract infections. We're helping her to express her bladder more frequently. She also has little or no control over her bowel functions. When she poops in the RV, she looks VERY ashamed (and usually surprised!). Dwight and I aren't fussy about the floor, so we just reassure her of our love and clean up the mistake. We feel very blessed to have Chloe in our lives and are enjoying her antics.