How to Care for a Dog with Degenerative Myelopathy


The summer of 2017 has been bittersweet in the Good home. We have had bountiful pleasure, tinged with sadness and pain. The pleasure has been our teamwork, our devotion, and commitment to Orchid, our soft coated Wheaton Terrier who was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, a fatal inherited disease; otherwise known as ALS.

Sadness and pain engulf us because we know we are going to lose her. As her doting owners, we are using all our resources to keep our Orchid as healthy as possible… for as long as possible.

We go with Orchid to physical therapy twice a week. She has acupuncture, once a week. I give her daily vitamins and a special massage twice a day. We have sent all of her medical records to  Tufts University. Their veterinary department is doing a trial on Degenerative Myelopathy and we are awaiting news to see if she has been accepted into their program.

My ultimate concierge is the Alpha dog and her protector. I am her faithful mistress, her mom. As the saying goes, “There is nothing like a mother.” 
Today, I went back into my files to search for a story that best describes the loving relationship between a dog and her mistress. It was written nearly three years ago, by Orchid, when she was eight years old. Of course, I cried as I read it.  It is not a sad story. It is joyful. And that is why I cried… I yearn for days past.


By: Orchid Good

My dog, Orchid, makes my heart sing. She spends many of her waking hours with me. She is always at my side as I write each day for -- so I consider her my little partner. I thought it would be fun for you to read a blog from Orchid on this Sunday morning.

Good morning to all of my Mistress’s readers,

My name is Orchid Good. I am a Soft-Coated, forty pound, Wheaton Terrier. My mistress, Honey Good, wants me to look “very girly” so she keeps my hair very long. I am one feminine Wheaton!

I am eight years old and a city girl! I live in a high rise building on the 71st floor that allows me to overlook the beautiful city of Chicago and Neiman Marcus where I shop with my mistress!

I love riding the elevator four times a day because everyone pets me and tells me I am beautiful and sweet. I am a people person pooch and I respond to all humans with my wagging tail and kisses. I am not bragging when I tell you I am the favorite dog in our building because everyone tells me including, my master and mistress that, “Everybody loves Orchid.” You probably did not know that the average dog understands two hundred words and I am not average! So I pick up on what is going on!

I lead a very full life and believe me, not a “dog’s life” (I really find that phrase very insulting!) - I have many dog friends as well as people friends. I spend happy time outdoors in the park with other doggies and my mistress. My mistress and I window shop and stop in at the doggie store for something new and stylish! I know how to ride the escalators and am a pro at riding the elevators. I go into shops with my Mistress and know the sales girls who admire me. I also lunch with my Mistress, in the summer, at little outdoor cafes! I am a service dog so I fly with my Master and Mistress! I love the hustle and bustle of airports, the Admiral’s Club and the sound of the airplane engine. I lay at my Mistresses feet and sleep only to get up for water, which the flight attendants offer me! The passengers cannot believe my perfect behavior and the flight attendants want to take me home! I guess you could compare me to “Eloise at the Plaza!”

I consider myself a very knowledgeable dog because I have been exposed to life! I have the “GOOD” fortune to be my Mistress’s co-partner at! We blog together daily. I am her sounding board and it does not matter where she blogs; I am always by her side. She talks to me and I can sense her every move and every word.

If her voice is happy because she has thought of a great topic or sentence I look at her approvingly with my huge black eyes! If I sense that she is thinking too hard, I kiss her several times and feel her body relax next to mine. And if I hear her overjoyed I wag my wagging tail and she leans over and rubs my head and back and tummy and tells me that she loves me to the moon.

I am her anchor. I always have a positive disposition and we both see the glass half-full. I am so proud of her and she knows this by my protective and loving attitude. We are partners through and through!