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For all of you who are wondering – here’s the scoop on Panzer since we decided to stop treatment for his spinal issue.

Riverside with wubba 2

At the river

We’ve been going swimming almost every nice weekend. Check out this video of our makeshift hydrotherapy sessions.

Swimming is Panzer’s favorite thing (besides his wubba, which is incorporated into swimming), and it’s a great, low impact exercise outlet. Last weekend, he met a new friend, an all black GSD who loves to swim too! They had a blast and when I was able to get done worrying, I had so much fun just watching them do their thing. We threw Panzer’s wubba and his GSD’s friend’s dad threw her stick. There was only one little tiff, and Panzer came swimming back to us, which made us all chuckle. They were back at it a few minutes later.

Honestly, it’s nice. I feel a lot less anxious, and Panzer has gone back to being his goofy, playful self.

Goofy face

Yup, that’s my boy!

Everyone is a lot happier. I know that some aren’t going to agree with this decision, but it’s the right one for us, and I feel confident that we have tried everything within our power. I don’t think about the “what ifs” as much anymore, and I’m crying less. I’m just enjoying every single moment with Panzer (and Shelby too). We’re back on a solid training schedule, and he’s making leaps and bounds with his reactivity once more.

Really, it makes me realize how lucky we are. For all his issues, Panzer is a pretty easy going dog. I rarely have to leash him (obviously in public we leash him, as a caveat), he’s super obedient, and wicked smart. Yes, I did just say wicked ;-). I didn’t even realize what the stress of the vets was doing to him until it wasn’t there anymore. We still snuggle every night, and I don’t even mind when he gets his claws stuck in my hair at 2 a.m. or snores in my ear or takes up most of my spot. It’s good just to have him there.

Running with Wubba

He’s making new friends, human and dog alike. He’s my reminder that I am a good trainer, despite what is going on with Shelby. In some ways, he’s my reassurance that everything is going to be okay, and I think I lost that when he was going through the dreaded vet stress.

When we found out about Panzer’s neurological issue, I was adamant that we would never get a rescue again. Me, I know. I was though. I guess I was just hurt. But as I was cooking dinner the other night, Joe was chatting to me about his day. Somehow the conversation fell to Panzer and the imminent, as it sometimes does. He said to me, “When these guys get old and we get our next rescue…” I threw a piece of raw chicken to Panzer and didn’t bat an eye at the statement. Is there some hope that he’s going to beat this? Well, not really. We know he won’t, that he can’t, but there is some hope that his progression will slow, and we will have him until he’s old. But there’s no longer a question of whether or not our next dog will be a rescue. Panzer has reminded us of that. With every happy day he lives with us, we are reminded that we’re grateful and thankful and that we saved him and no one can take that away from him, or from us.

Why would you want a rescue with all the issues yours have had? I get that question a lot. My answer was always convoluted and maybe that’s because I didn’t really know the answer until we went through this with Panzer. My answer is simple now – because I love them and they love me.

Wubba on rock

But we’re still using a harness!

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