17 August, 2017
Sometimes no matter where life takes us we always return to the roots we establish growing up. Anne Carney has always reflected on her childhood so fondly because it included their family poodle who she loved dearly, creating amazing memories that would last a lifetime. And while it wasn't until many years later and many dogs later, Anne eventually decided that she would bring another poodle into her life. That day came when Anne found a newspaper advertisement posted by a dog groomer who was selling Standard Poodle puppies. This was her opportunity to recreate her childhood and bring a poodle, later named Louie, into her life once again. Anne and her husband Noel couldn't be happier about the new addition to their loving family.
Louie was like most puppies, full of energy and playfulness. Anne ensured that he was well socialized right from the beginning even going to puppy kindergarten twice. As he grew so did the number of friends he made along the way. Living in a historical village at the time everyone quickly got to know Louie and his network included both 2-legged and 4-legged friends. His best friend was a Bernese Mountain dog named Rosie fondly referred to at the time as Louie's wife. He spent a lot of quality time at Rosie's house until she passed away at 8 years old.
Anne describes Louie as a dog with a great sense of humor and one that was a master communicator.
"He'd come over and nudge you and you'd say, What do you want? And then he'd either point to the treat door or he'll point to the stairs to go out."
Louie even knew what toys people gave him and brought them out to play when they came to visit. He would bring out his favorite toy to his most favorite visitors.
An important part of Louie's family was their Manx cat named Midnight. Louie and Midnight grew up together and had a deep bond that was very moving. Just another example of the endless love he was capable of sharing regardless of species. Midnight lived with Anne and Noel for 21 wonderful years.
As time passed and Louie aged, he began to face some challenges. He developed Retina Atrophy which is the degeneration of the retina causing progressive vision loss and his hearing started to fade. Louie also started showing signs of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) which affects the spinal cord and over time began to take its toll on his mobility.
Anne and Louie would walk down to the river every day, but because of his degenerative condition, his legs started to spasm and he became weaker and weaker. Heartbroken seeing her sweet Louie struggling, and scared that she would have to say goodbye, she turned to their veterinarian for options.
After consulting with their veterinarian they decided to try treating Louie's condition using stem cell therapy. Louie was now 12 years old and with his mobility severely impacted Anne felt that she had nothing to lose trying this new treatment method for DM. After a full work-up, which included blood work and X-rays, he was cleared for the procedure.
Louie's treatment entailed the removal of fat from which dormant stem cells can be turned into active stem cells. In addition, a sample of his blood was taken in order to harvest the platelet rich plasma (PRP) which is then added to the stem cell sample. Through an in-house process the stem cells are activated and the PRP added and then everything was injected back into Louie in an attempt to regenerate damaged cells and tissue.
At first Louie did not seem to be getting better. In fact many months passed and he seemed to be getting worse. Anne and Noel feared that the treatment had failed and they would once again be facing the thought of having to say good-bye to their beloved family member. And then a miracle happened, Louie started to show improvement and eventually he was able to regain much of his lost mobility.
The improvement to Louie's health was dramatic and they were able to enjoy life to its fullest with a new found freedom for 3 years until age eventually took its toll. When Louie reached 15 years old he started to struggle once again with mobility. With little medical options left, Anne started to look for products that could help restore his stability and keep him from falling, especially on slippery indoor surfaces such as tile and hardwood.
"We live in an old building where the kitchen is tile and there are wooden floors and Louie's legs would go straight out from under him. I filled the whole house with yoga mats."
And then a friend gave Anne some Grippers dog socks for Louie to try and they made a big difference helping to keep him upright on their floors and eliminating the need for so many yoga mats.
"Louie wears them every day. If I don't put the Grippers on him he gets depressed. He knows he's better off with them on"
Louie sadly passed away during the writing of this story. He was an incredibly happy dog who loved life and gave his whole heart to his friends and family. His spirit and zest for life is why Anne was willing to try everything to make him more comfortable and found miracles along the way as a result.
While heartbroken, Louie's family wanted his story to be shared so that others can understand the value and impact that new treatment methods such as stem cell therapy and products that can improve the quality of life, can have on the life of a senior dog and the family that loves them. Through their willingness to try everything possible, they were able to enjoy more time with their wonderful boy. A priceless reward for their efforts.
"I am so thankful for the shoes which helped him tremendously and the stem cells that gave us an extra 3 years with him. We will miss him every day."
Louie will live forever in the hearts of everyone who had the honor of meeting him, as well as those who read his story. He will never be forgotten.