November 4, 2012:
Bailey is a six-year-old purebred Golden Retriever who melts the heart of everyone she meets.This docile, pretty girl came into RAGOM when her family moved out of state and was unable to keep her. She lived as an outdoor dog, sharing a large enclosure and deluxe dog house with a white German Shepherd (who went to another rescue).
Although she was not formally housetrained, Bailey naturally prefers to do her business outside, and she has been flawless in the potty department in the week she has been with me.Here's how wonderful Bailey (or as I call her, "Bailey Mae") is:
- She gets along with every dog she meets.
- She likes cats.
- She loves people.
- She enjoys being groomed.
- She doesn't bark at the door.
- She does not need a fence.
- She does not need another dog in the home.
- She does not need to be under foot.
- She can happily spend all day by herself.
What Bailey isn't so adept at is stairs. She had such trouble going down my staircases that I wondered if she was having issues with her sight, depth perception, balance and so on. So when we went in for her wellness check, I asked the vet to test her reflexes.It turns out that Bailey Mae has some kind of neurological issue with a cranial nerve that is affecting her motor control. This can be caused by a number of different conditions--some of them treatable--so we are hoping for the best diagnosis. I will be taking Bailey to a neurologist as soon as we can get an appointment.In the meantime, I am helping Bailey Mae go down the stairs by lifting her body with a harness. Now that she has not fallen for a few days, she must think she's pretty good at it, because now she wants to scramble down the stairs at the same breakneck pace of the resident dogs. If I didn't hold her up, she'd certainly be rolling down the stairs instead of running.
Bailey Mae tips the scales at 71 pounds--about 10-15 pounds overweight--which can't be helping her coordination. For the last few weeks before moving, her family was cleaning out their freezer, and Bailey Mae was treated to steaks every night. She apparently packed on a few pounds as a result. To her dismay, steak is not on the menu at my house! She has proved to be a picky eater, so she's probably losing weight already. (Although from what I'm reading, loss of taste may be related to her neuropathy, and if so, it would explain her lack of appetite and would suggest I need to feed her more palatable food.)Her symptoms are subtle. She can climb stairs without a problem, but if she slips, she has trouble recovering. On flat ground, she can walk and run--she even fetches. She's not the fastest, most coordinated kid on the playground, but she can still play the game.
She's a happy girl who is still learning the sounds and routines of indoor life. She startles easily from loud noises inside, and on my hardwood floors, she can struggle to recover her footing if she has been put off-balance. For this reason alone, Bailey Mae should go to a calm home with older children only. I don't think she would do well around young shrieking whirling-dervishes.And because of her balance issues, a one-story house with carpeting would be ideal. She can manage 3-4 stairs, just not long staircases.Otherwise, she is the kind of dog who could fit in to a number of lifestyles, including that of a single person who is away at work all day. Bailey Mae does not mind being alone, but is always happy to have human companionship.I hope to have Bailey Mae seen by a neurologist soon. She certainly deserves to be more comfortable and confident about her footing. Stay tuned.