There is something refreshing about beginning a new year. I find hope in putting the old year behind so I can begin a new journey and since at Dog Quality so much seems to happen, starting a new year is very exciting. Even more importantly, I look forward to becoming a better pet parent. As I reflect on 2016 I find myself conducting a self-assessment in how I spent my time with my dogs Lily, Milo and Winnie. Did I do enough? Did we have fun? Are they happy? And then I start thinking about what we could do differently this year.
We will be starting this year off with a major event. Lily (my pug) is having back surgery later this month. For those of you who may not be aware, last year Lily started to struggle with mobility issues that gradually became worse leading to rear weakness, loss of balance and eventually muscle spasms and incontinence.
After being evaluated by a neurologist using a variety of diagnostic tools including X-rays, MRI and a CT scan it was determined that she has Caudal Articular Process Dysplasia which is a malformation of one of her vertebrae, most likely since birth, that allows for too much movement. This movement over her 11 years has now caused a herniated disc which is putting pressure on her spinal cord. There is a new surgical procedure that will stabilize this section of her spine to prevent future problems and at the same time they will repair the disc to take the pressure off her spinal cord. Other dogs like Lily that have had this surgery have done extremely well so we are all optimistic that she will be much better off having this surgery than she would be without it. So a major part of my plans for 2017 is to see Lily through this procedure and to help with her recovery so she can get back to enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Once Lily is fully recovered one of my other goals for 2017 is to take some trips with my dogs. Dog Quality had a very hectic year in 2016 and I did not have much time to go anywhere with my dogs and there is so much to explore that I simply must get us out on some road trips. This will be one of my priorities this year and I'll be sure to share our adventures through this blog!
Last year I made focusing on natural ways to treat my dogs a big priority and this will continue in 2017 especially throughout LIly's recovery. In 2016 I started an aromatherapy course and created some blends that turned into lotions, balms, muscle rubs, skin remedies and even a solution to use with wipes in-between diaper changes for Lily and Milo. I will continue to explore more in these areas and expand my knowledge to embrace new methods of natural healing.
This year will also be a big year for Dog Quality. Last spring we moved to a new, bigger location so we could expand our operations as we continue to bring more production in-house. Ths was incredibly challenging, but now with this in place we plan on introducing some new products for 2017 including our Big Dogger stroller for large breeds (or for those who wish to use it for several small dogs), stretchy straps to better hold our diapers and belly bands in place and our super-sized Blanket Pads to help protect larger areas from unwanted urinary accidents. My own dogs help to test everything, from prototype to final product, to make sure they truly make a difference in the quality of life for older dogs, so they will be busy working hard throughout 2017.
And as always I will continue to remind myself to embrace every moment with my four-legged family because it should always be quality time wherever we go and with whatever we do. Life is too short and no matter how stressful things can get I should never forget to take those special moments to hug, kiss, laugh and cuddle with my dogs. To appreciate every second of every day I have with them and to be grateful for all that they teach me about life, love and family.
I wish each and every one of you a fantastic 2017! May it bring you everything you hope for and more.
Ann-Marie Fleming is the Founder & CEO of Dog Quality, a provider of products focused on improving the quality of life for older dogs.