We had been a springer spaniel house for many years. Our sweet Sadie Sue was getting old. She was really struggling, she could no longer walk up and down stairs. We were carrying her everywhere. She had a bladder tumor and Cushing’s disease. We decided to start looking for a puppy to help her feel a little younger. She was a very maternal dog. We also thought it would help us deal with our pain when we lost her.
I started to look at breeds with similar attributes to Springer Spaniels but in a smaller size. I came across this breed, the Boykin Spaniel. I started to searched on line to find a breeders to ask questions? The Tanwax Creek Boykin site summed up everything I needed to hear. It was right there on his website, “All the heart of a Golden Retriever but half the size.” Coco came from breeder James Zilka, Tanwax Creek Boykin’s, at the base of Mt. Rainier, Washington.
From the moment we brought Coco home we knew she was special and the breed was special. She stole all of our hearts instantly. Well, except our big boy springer Eddie. He took a couple of weeks to come around. Coco made us laugh with her funny little Boykin dance. She entertained us and our friends. She smothered everyone of us with love ❤️. Especially me! We became partners in crime. She went everywhere with me.
I would take Coco and our big boy Eddie on a 3.5 mile walk several days a week. I always train my dogs to sit at every corner before we cross. I would tell them to look both ways, like I did with my human children, even though I knew they didn’t.
Shortly before Cocos 4th birthday we took a walk that would change our world. About 3/4 through the walk Coco was refusing to sit at the corners. This was very unlike her. At first I pushed her little nub down. When she still seemed to not want to sit I decided she was too hot and tired. I felt she just needed to get home. When we got home I promptly went upstairs to shower. We had plans that evening. Since Coco always made sure I would never get lonely in the shower she took one too.
An hour or so later I saw her shivering. I thought she was cold and maybe getting sick. I called her to come sit on the couch with me but she wouldn’t or could not jump up. I picked her up wrapped her in a blanket and held her to warm her up. She continued to shake all night.
We took her to the vet the next day. He said she may have injured her back. He recommended meds and crate rest for a week. After the crate rest he would reevaluate her injury. In a week she was still shaking and would not jump on the couch. The vet took an X-ray. He determined she might have a bulging disk in her back. He said we could try crate rest for 6 weeks or we had a surgical option. He said we would need a specialist for the surgery. We asked questions. By the answers he gave us we decided to try crate rest for 6 weeks. Surgery sounded so scary. After 4 weeks we took Coco to a specialist. At this point they did a CT scan. She had a calcified epidural compression lesion on L3-4 slightly off to the right causing severe compression of the spinal chord (80%).
Coco’ surgery was scheduled for the day after her 4th birthday which happened to be the day before Thanksgiving that year. I don’t remember what time the surgery was supposed to start. I do remember the doctor saying she would call me as soon as they were done. What seemed like an eternity passed with no phone call. 5:00pm came and went. I was worried the doctor forgot to call. This was the night before a holiday. I thought maybe everyone was rushing home. Around 5:30 I called and asked if the vet had forgotten to call me and they told me Coco was still in surgery. Around 7:30 the surgeon finally called. She said the surgery was much more complicated then they expected because Coco’s disk had ruptured. The rupture was on the internal side of the spine. Then vet did not have high hopes for Coco being able to walk again. She would call us in the morning to let us know how she was doing.
The next day was Thanksgiving and it was supposed to be at my house. I needed to cook food for all the company coming over! 8:00am no call
9:00 am no call
10:00 am no call
11:00 am no call.
I can not cook. I can not clean. I do not want my family and friends coming over. At this point there was not going to be anything to eat anyway.
Around 11:30 am the surgeon called. The first words out of her mouth were she is walking! You could here the excitement in her voice. I was beyond relieved. My husband and I sat down and cried. We were so grateful. We had Thanksgiving. We were very thankful.
First thing the next morning we went to visit Coco. I sat on the floor. She climbed in my lap and pressed herself so tight against me. It broke my heart to leave her.
We had to leave for a business trip that Monday so, after discussing our options with the vet, we decided she would stay with them until we returned. They would continue with her physical therapy while we were gone which kept Coco at the vet for two weeks. I actually think it is one of the reasons she is doing so well.
After coming home she had six weeks of crate rest. We continued the physical therapy at home with the instruction sheet the vet provided. It took a long time for Miss Coco to show us her sprawl again. She developed a love for warm cozy sweater during her recovery. She is too cute.
Long story short, Today Coco Chanel is 9 years old. She jumps, she swims, and she has the best wiggle butt we have ever seen. She has bad allergies but she is perfect. She has become a wonderful big sister to our second Boykin Nashville Rae.
Debbie Goldman Hill