Difficult Day, Difficult Decision..

Difficult Day, Difficult Decision..

In my post called  Happy Thanksgiving… I wrote of the difficulty I was having trying to reach Dr. Plechner, the veterinarian who developed the Plechner Protocol for dogs stricken with sudden blindness also known as SARDS or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. The young lady who runs his Facebook page, Blind Dogs Cure for SARDS by Dr. Plechner, had not only blocked me but removed Sasha’s progress videos I had uploaded as well as my posts. I also found myself blocked from his personal Facebook page which told me she had access to his account.  All because one Sunday she posted that he was admitted to the hospital and several of his California patients wrote that they were going to  visit him that afternoon.  He had actually been discharged from the hospital and not wanting to see people make an uneccessary trip, I posted that information which for some unknown reason set her off. He was ill at the time and I assumed that once he had recovered we would resolve the issue. Was I wrong!

At the time he was living and practicing in California but when he became ill he retired and eventually moved back to his home state of Idaho. I was assured by someone who is in Dr. Plechner’s loop that the woman who runs his Facebook page, Myriam Miranda of Naples, Florida, did not have access to his personal email but considering the control she’d already demonstrated, I had reservations.  I’ll admit I waited awhile before even attempting to email him because I was angry. I simply could not understand how he could allow her to arbitrarily do this to someone whos dog’s treatment he was consulting on. Especially since he and I had formed an exceptionally good relationship and emailed each other almost daily. Because of my location my goal was to bring his work to the attention of an esteemed teaching veterinary schoo/hospital. To go from that to dead silence and having a barrier thrown up for no rational reason was frustrating. Most of all it was unfair to Sasha for she had undergone many blood tests, a complete change in diet and a complicated medication regime in an attempt to restore some or all of her vision. And it was working! Plus she was on the cusp of regaining some near vision when this woman interfered.

In the latter part of November Sasha began vomiting which I wrote about in Sasha’s Tummy… I love her medical team in Maine but it would have been nice to speak with Dr. Plechner, to ask if he had encountered this problem with other dogs being treated for SARDS. I finally bit the bullet and emailed him but days passed with no response.  Sasha’s stomach issues seemed to resolve with medication and I thought we had successfully passed the hurdle ~ until this past week. One of her followers had commented on my Happy Thanksgiving post that he was disturbed as a dog owner that someone would do this to a person whose dog was undergoing treatment. He said he was going to find the Facebook page but I said let it go, not worth it etc. The other day he commented on the Happy Thanksgiving post to say he’d located the Facebook page, wrote a comment which was subsequently deleted and him blocked. He pasted the comment he made so I could see  and it was essentially benign except he asked for clarification as to whose page it was, why would “Miranda” take it upon herself to block someone because she misunderstood what they wrote or because they questioned her. I was dumbfounded and still haven’t responded (sorry Andy). I emailed Dr. Plechner one more time but again, no response. I then contacted the person whom I previously  wrote was in the loop as this individual has always been extremely helpful and genuinely kind. This time however he simply gave me names of several veterinarians who use Dr. Plechner’s Protocol. That’s the last thing Sasha needs ~ to bring a virtual stranger into her care plan. She has excellent vets  who follow his protocol to a T. They just aren’t as experienced with SARDS as he is so therefore can’t be absolutely sure if the steroids are causing her stomach issues. Then last week it happened again in the morning before she left for her scheduled veterinary appointment. I spent nearly $500 between her usual acupuncture/laser therapy plus diagnostic blood work and x-rays. Dr. Stuer prescribed some medication and I prayed it would work but then just a few days later it happened again. I spoke with him and she’s going on another round of the medication (Carafare) that I dissolve in a small amount of water then give by oral syringe. We’re also going to cut the daily amount of steroids she receives in half because we both feel they are contributing to her gastric distress.


Sasha is such a good girl, always takes her daily mountain of pills split into three rounds over the course of the day yet doesn’t resist. She is one of the sweetest, most mellow dogs  I have  been blessed to be owned by.  I thought of all she’s been through; the FCE (spinal stroke) that ended her participation in Schutzhund, the perianal fistula disease, stem cell therapy and now the Plechner Protocol. I’ve thought about it, ground my teeth during my sleep, and shed many tears this past week. Today I made my decision; Sasha needs to be weaned off the protocol. Long term steroid use can have an adverse effect on one’s body, particularly their organs and I’m just not willing to take a chance with her health. I’d rather she remain blind than to go into organ failure. As much as I trust her veterinary team I refuse to gamble with her health by keeping her on a treatment when I can’t even speak to the doctor who essentially discovered and fine tuned it. And why? Because some woman in Florida decides who can post on the page and who can’t? Based on absolutely no normal or intelligent rationale? I took a cue from Andy and looked at her YouTube videos as well as her LinkedIn. .She can’t even pronounce Dr. Plechner’s name or the syndrome yet she has the audacity to get between my dog and a veterinarian who was helping her? I took a huge leap of faith with Dr. Plechner because of the controversy surrounding his protocol. I literally spent 8-10 hours a day on my laptop reading everything I could find,  both the good and the not so good. Only to be cut off at the pass by a woman just as Sasha was making real progress.

Would she have eventually regained her near vision? I don’t know because Myriam Miranda calls the shots. And know what? That is NOT acceptable to me. Sasha is worth far more to me than the Myriam Miranda’s of the world. As for Dr. Plechner? I have zero respect for him now because any professional medical practitioner who  allows an inexperienced, non-medical person to play God with dogs whose cases he is consulting on can jump on the boat and go straight to hell with her.

I have said from the beginning of Sasha’s Journey and her subsequent blindness that I would love her whether she had a return of vision or not and that has never changed.  We are like two peas in a pod; she has a bad left leg, so do I. She has a visual impairment, so do I. She sleeps half off the bed, so do I.

Now if I could just get her snow boots from the shoemaker before spring I’d be happy. The cold snow really bothers her foot now that she has arthritis in her toes so I need the snow boots.

What can I say other than welcome to Maine where it’s winter five months of the year!


I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

💜Next up ~ tapering off her meds💜

December Flew By….

December Flew By….

It’s hard to believe today was Christmas! One more week and it’ll be a new year and I for one can’t wait. 2016 hasn’t been the best of years so I’m hoping 2017 will be much better. 

We’ve had some very cold days and even colder nights, a few which broke 27 year records for December. Add that to over 1-1/2 foot of snow and we’ve been staying in more than usual, especially since Sasha doesn’t have her winter boots yet. I did find however what I’ve nicknamed her “bedroom slippers” which are actually a very lightweight bootie (more like a sock) that has a non-skid sole. Unlike a sock, I can adjust it by tying the laces. They work pretty good on the hardwood floors because I haven’t had a lot of luck with the scatter rugs.

Sasha's Non-Slip Bootie
Sasha’s Non-Slip Bootie on Left Rear Foot

I made the decision to take her for acupuncture and laser therapy every other week for the rest of the winter. She’s doing pretty good and since it’s 58 miles one way I’d prefer not to take chances on the roads. I have an SUV with studded snow tires but it’s still a fairly long drive and Sasha isn’t too crazy about the long trips. She’s doing good with her mobility at home; I’ve discovered her on the dogs love seat a few times. Once she even got up there while Inga was lying at one end. It’s near the picture window so they can watch the squirrels, birds and occasional larger wildlife. I’m a tad concerned that she is bending her left rear affected leg at the knee more than before so going to explore options. When she first started doing it in addition to knuckling I took her to someone who started a treatment regime that in hindsight I don’t think benefited Sasha.

Her stomach issues have settled down so that’s a plus. Hopefully it was just acidity and her daily use of Prilosec will resolve it. I just wish we could help her get an increase  of her near vision. I know her distance vision is there; perhaps not as much as before she lost her sight in April but she definitely sees things across the room and she enjoys looking out the window. One thing is for sure ~ Sasha is still a snow bunny. When it’s not bitter cold we take her outside but stick close to the house. I haven’t tried tossing snowballs at her yet but will at some point. I just have to prepare myself for the fact that she may not see them.

The other definite is I’ll be sleeping on the great room sofa for the long run. I started sleeping downstairs when my dog Callie was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015.  When I lost Callie I was so devastated that I couldn’t bare to leave the great room and then Sasha started having difficulty so I simply stayed. It’s funny because whenever I’m  upstairs and enter my bedroom for some reason I feel like I’m in foreign territory. And Sasha has finally started sleeping on her LL Bean dog bed/pillow. Took her several months but now she sleep on it every night. I’m really glad because I don’t think sleeping on hardwood floors was the most ideal place for her.

Hopefully the next week will be uneventful and we’ll see you again In January!



I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

❄️Next up ~ Hello January❄️

A Seemingly Insignificant Move But…

A Seemingly Insignificant Move But…

This is going be a short post but my news, which is small and routine in a dog’s life, has nonetheless excited me.

When I wrote about Sasha’s first days than weeks immediately following her Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE) in 2011, I explained why it was necessary that she be confined to one area of the great room for safety reasons. And how one day while in the kitchen I returned to find she had  gotten into the recliner which became “her chair” from that moment on. Occasionally she would get into a different recliner (I had to buy  hubby a replacement of course) but the Lazy Boy remained her favorite. Since loosing her vision in April 2016 she hasn’t attempted to climb into her chair. Her loose hairs long vacuumed out, I now sit in it with my laptop when we are alone in the evening. For some reason last night I was sitting in a different chair, completely immersed in an ongoing dog dilemma happening in a neighboring state. I heard a slight noise and when I looked up, there was Sasha climbing into her recliner! I rushed over to give her a bit of support in her weaker left rear leg but she didn’t really need it. I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I had to sit down. True to form, Sasha wanted to sit with her head on the one arm of the chair she’s always preferred and while attempting to get turned around she got out completely. My first inclination was to assist her back up but then decided not to. She made her initial albeit spontaneous attempt and while only in the chair for about 5 minutes, to me it was a major accomplishment that brought me such joy.


It’s funny how things often change when one has a dog ~ or two or three. Things that were once so important become secondary. I used to be almost OCD when it came to housekeeping; decorator pillows placed just right on a love seat, glossy  book displayed on the coffee table along with a vase filled with fresh flowers,  colorful glass marbles or even pinecones I’d picked up during a walk. All that fell by the wayside and I could care less. I still vacuum or dust mop daily and pick up anything that is out-of-place but The Germs essentially rule the roost. I took the coffee table out after Sasha’s FCE lest she hit herself on it and never put it back. I replaced the lower displayed vases with two digital photo frames; one sits atop the secretary and the other atop the china closet. When I purchased new furniture I kept the old love seat because it had become the dogs favorite place to lay and watch the squirrels. I  bought a cover for it which somehow they’ve managed to reduce to tatters but I don’t care. They are family and this is their home too.

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

❄️Next up ~ December Snow Bunny❄️


Sasha Says “Hello December”…

Sasha Says “Hello December”…

I must confess, haven’t taken many pictures or videos of Sasha in November as most of them turn out blurred. My family has been taking her to see Dr. Stuer at Bethel Animal Hospital  for her weekly acupuncture treatments and laser therapy sessions because ever since I took that giant fall in the parking lot in October I don’t like leaving the house. On the bright side, that will all change on December 6 with the eye correction surgery.

The tummy troubles that were an issue for Sasha in November seem to have resolved so we’re hoping it really is just an ulcer. I noticed a correlation however; the times she vomited were all approximately 5 pm ~ just before her evening meal. During the day gastric juices form in their stomach and can often be acidic which is why once a day feeding is not recommended. Sasha has always been a finicky eater in the morning and when she is, getting her to eat just a little is an accomplishment. I wonder if the three times she was sick were on days she had smaller breakfasts? It would make perfect sense plus because of the steroid therapy she would be prone to stomach acid. What can I say? Sasha has never been a morning girl.


I spoke to Dr. Noble, Sasha’s BFF at Portland Veterinary Hospital and we are all in agreement that we’ll watch to see how she does over this next few weeks.

Which brings me to a decision I’ve made. IF Sasha does wind up needing to have a gastric endoscopy she would require anesthesia. I’m going to have her infused with some of the  stem cells  banked at the time of her first stem cell therapy in April as well as have her knees injected with Platelet Rich Plasma (RPR) again. I’ve been thinking about it for a few months now and pretty well made up my mind that I want to use some of her banked cells . I’d prefer to wait till the late spring because where we live there is minimal snow remaining on the ground late April thus she could get out and exercise more. However, if she’s going to be anesthetized for another procedure, I think it would be less taxing on her body to do the infusing and knee injections at the same time than sedating her again at a later date. The initial stem cell infusion and knee injections seemed to help her arthritis quite a bit. I think a second round would be just as beneficial if not more now that she has a custom boot to prevent her from knuckling.

So for now I’m just “thinking” until I see what the future brings. As for her vision, she doesn’t seem to have recovered any more but she’s still on the protocol plus she wasn’t bumped up to the next level in dosage due to the stomach issues. I’ll wait a few more weeks and if all stays calm, I’ll discuss it with her doctors.

November 30, 2016

Have to share something funny Sasha did on November 30. I was trying to keep the cat from going outside and in the mayhem Sasha just strolled past me without her boot on. I actually think with snow on the ground she’s less prone to abrading her foot if she knuckles but it was just funny the way it happened.

November 30, 2016
Walked right past me!
November 30, 2015
She even looks guilty!


Can’t wait to see what December brings! Hopefully it won’t take me several hours to do a relatively short post anymore.



I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

💜Next up ~ I have no clue💜








Sasha’s Tummy…

Sasha’s Tummy…

In the beginning of November Sasha threw up around 5 pm just before her evening meal. It shook e up because it contained some bright red blood. When a dog vomits blood it’s called hematemesis. Assuming the role of “Dog Mom” I immediately panicked.  Then I reminded myself I was also a nurse and took a more logical approach. I immediately took photos (don’t worry I’m not including them). Before clean up began I examined the “evidence”. Sasha is a bit of a trash can in that she eats grass and occasionally chews a piece of a kong off and eats it. Sure enough the evidence contained grass, plant stems and a piece of a rubber ball about 1′ x 1.5″. I still contacted her veterinarian and we agreed to keep an eye on her.

Hematemesis is  vomiting either new or recent blood, which is bright red. It could  also involve vomiting old, partially digested blood, which has the appearance of brown coffee grounds. Sasha had bright red blood and not a lot.  I was hoping it was because she’s a four-legged trash can. She ate well that evening and as days passed no further issues. Dr. Stuer did a thorough examination later that week during her session and her abdomen etc. all seemed well.  Sasha has had horrific gas lately. In fact, she can clear a room or drop a rhinoceros.

In addition to her room clearing gas I’ve heard her tummy grumbling from gas so I knew she was a gas monkey playing around in there. Remember, we sleep in the great room together and she usually lies near the sofa.


Then it happened again earlier this week only this time no debris or grass….just liquid tinged with blood. I should mention that it was within the same time range as the first episode ~ a bit after 5pm. Once again panic initially set in then I got a grip and quickly took photos. I put my hand down next to one of the three little puddles so that Dr. Stuer could guesstimate the amount. Later that evening it hit me ~ she “might” have an ulcer. She’s on several different mediation but the real culprit is the Medrol (methylprednisolone ) which is a corticosteroid. Stomach ulcers can be caused by medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, steroids and aspirin. Corticosteroids definitely fall within that category.  Dr. Stuer agreed and put Sasha on Prilosec which is an over the counter human medication. He also called in a prescription for carafate, another drug used by both humans and dogs. Carafate is a joy to give. It’s a large white pill and the best way of giving it is to make a “carafate sludge”. You put about 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, add the pill and in a few minutes stir it then have the patient swig it down. It sort of has the consistency of Mylanta. I knew Sasha was NOT going to drink it from a cup and since it must be taken on an empty stomach trying to hide the “sludge” in her food wasn’t an option. So I bought several size syringes and proceeded my test runs. The best one was the 20 mL syringe. I put 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, droped the carafate pill in, stirred it a minute later then dumped the contents into the syringe. I gave the syringe a few shakes, push all the air out which brings the liquid up to the end then squirt it into her mouth. It’s only been since Tuesday but so far so good. She got sick again tonight, also around 5pm but it didn’t appear to have any fresh blood. I had just given her one of her larger pills and think that might have caused it. I’m rearranging her medication schedule (probably need a spreadsheet) to see if that might help.

I sent the photos of this weeks episode to her internist, Dr. Sarah Noble (Sasha’s BFF) and she agreed that it coud be an ulcer. We are going to continue with Dr. Stuer’s treatment protocol and see how she is over the net few weeks. If necessary she could have a gastroduodenal endoscopy (scoping) which is the most definitive means of diagnosing gastrointestinal ulceration. The problem with endoscopy  is that Sasha would have to be anesthetized for it. One can always try just plain x-rays first to see if they show an ulcer which is the route I would choose because 1. it’s less invasive and 2. doesn’t require anesthesia.

So stay tuned as Sasha’s medical journey branches off into yet another direction…

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.


💜Next up ~ Sasha makes a pit stop💜

Happy Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving…

**If your dog has Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), please see my warning at end of post.

I haven’t posted as much as I would have liked to as my visual issues seem to be worsening. On the bright side, December 6 the “eye surgery gone wrong” from October 2015 will be corrected.

Sasha has been doing well. Her vision has remained the same which is disappointing but she’s not done treatment yet. Her distance vision is still fairly good but her near vision is hit or miss. Dr. Plechner who developed the Plechner Protocol which we’ve been following was became ill a few months ago. He had severe pain in his back which required him to be hospitalized and retire from practice immediately. I *think* he has moved  from California back to his home state of Idaho or perhaps it’s Iowa. I’ve been blacklisted by a young female who is his _________. I entered a blank because I’m not sure what she is other than she came to the USA from Chile, is young, married within the past few years and has a dog that was successfully treated for SARDS using Dr. Plechner’s Protocol. She was so grateful that she made a Facebook page devoted to his work called “Blind Dogs Cure for SARDS by Dr. Plechner”.  Naturally I joined and enjoyed giving little updates on Sasha’s progress as well as posting short video clips whenever I caught her focusing on something. I also was buoyed by reading posts made by other SARDS dog owners because we were all on the same journey, just some at different phases.

One Sunday afternoon in August this young lady posted on the page (which is actually a page attached to her personal FB account as opposed to a stand alone account) that Dr. Plechner was in the hospital. Many of the people who frequented the page live in CA because that’s where his practice was located. Some posted that they were going to visit him later that day. They asked what hospital he was in and one woman commented it was an hour drive but she was going. He had been seen in the ER but not admitted. How do I know this? Because as she was writing on Facebook I was on the telephone with him. Silly me posted on the page that he had been released from the hospital. Well did she become angry! She deleted my post almost immediately. Before I even knew what was happening she was posting that people were writing bad things about him yaddy yaddy and his supporters were outraged. I responded but she deleted it within seconds.  Then I found myself blocked from posting and all my videos purged. My daughter had previously ‘Liked’ the page so she posted something benign;  just to say we only wanted people to know he wasn’t admitted so they didn’t make an unnecessary  trip to the hospital. Boom! Her post was deleted and she was blocked. I was also his “friend” on his personal FB page but lo and behold when I tried to post something a few days later I discovered I was blocked there as well. That told me that she had access to his personal FB password because without that she couldn’t have blocked me and Dr. Plechner isn’t terribly FB savvy. After thinking about it for a few days I became concerned that she also had access to his email as whenever I sent him one he didn’t respond, quite unusual in of itself.  I’ll admit I was pretty angry because here was Sasha, just starting to regain glimmers of near vision and  I was cut off from communicating with him by someone whom at times I referred to as a puta. The first thing I did was contact Sasha’s two Maine veterinarians as well as the lab in Texas that processes the highly specialized endocrine tests and essentially revoked their right to share any of Sasha’s medical information with Dr. Plechner because for all I knew, this power-hungry chick was in control of his email. I’d found several veterinary articles posted on the internet under her name. Very detailed and methodically written. Yet in my collection of You Tube videos on SARDS dogs, there was one she made and honestly? She couldn’t even pronounce many of the medical terms and it wasn’t due to a language barrier ~ it was just obvious she didn’t have a veterinary background. So there was no way I was going to take a chance with Sasha and risk an email suggestion that was really written by her. Would you? I didn’t think so. And in the spirit of honesty I’ll admit I was angry for several weeks and would probably have kicked her to the curb if I got my hands on her. Not sure (my memory tends to fail when I’m stressed) but someone told me Dr. Plechner was moving or had moved already back to his previously mentioned home state in September so I waited a bit and tried emailing him several times with nary a response. After two months I stopped trying. Sasha is in more than capable hands with Drs. Stuer and Noble. It’s just that not a lot is known about SARDS so it would be nice to be able to ask  Dr. Plechner, “Have any of the dogs you’ve treated had this or that happen”? He  probably knows more about this disease than anyone else.


I read something once and it really is true:

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison.”

That’s why  I’ve come to the realization that I need to let it go because why spin my wheels when I have no control over the situation? It’s pointless. Dr. Plechner helped Sasha regain some of her vision after we were told it was impossible. And for that I am extremely thankful.

*I feel morally obligated to  advise any dog owner whose pet has SARDS to be very careful if following Dr. Plechner’s Protocol. As I’ve written many times, it works ~ Sasha is proof along with many other dogs. Sadly he has allowed a non-medical person to have free reign with the part of his life she should NOT be involved in ~ his medical work. Not only is it a slippery slope but a dangerous one. All I can say is I do not trust any form of communication regarding Sasha as I have no idea if this woman is doling out medical advice or if the communication is from him. In my opinion her involvement should be limited to the Facebook page she set up about his work and that’s it. To allow her to dictate if a patient has access to the page or him is unconscionable. I love Sasha too much plus she has endured a multitude of treatments and tests therefore I WILL NOT jeopardize her health or welfare on information that “could” be coming from a 20 something non-medical person who’s claim to fame is setting up a Facebook page. Not happening!

Finally,  while not Thanksgiving related, this is about “letting go” and too cute not to share!

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus, icons etc. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe to her channel.

🌰🍁🦃Next up ~ Sasha’s tummy ache🦃🍁🌰

Goodbye Summer…

Goodbye Summer…

Sasha had her weekly acupuncture today with Dr. Steur followed by laser therapy with Kathy-Jo. It was a very interesting visit to say the least.

August 26, 2016
Sasha Looking Rather Slinky..

Prior to beginning the acupuncture, Dr. Steur always does a hands on examination of Sasha’s body from nose to tail. He always checks her rear leg strength and muscle mass in several ways. Today he looked at me a tad surprised and asked if I’d noticed her rear right leg (the non-affected leg) was stronger. I told him I had not but only because I hadn’t been outside the most with her this week; my husband had. Dr. Steur seemed genuinely pleased and attributed the increased strength to Sasha wearing her new custom boots which Lucas Argrew from Beyond Shoe Repair recently completed. He said because wearing the boot allowed her to walk in a somewhat normal gait (no knuckling), she was relearning to use muscles that hadn’t been stimulated in awhile. It goes back to what I wrote on another video, I can do passive  range of motion exercises to keep her limber but Sasha has to do the active range of motion exercises, especially ones that will increase strength in her quadriceps and hamstrings. And it’s working!

August 26, 2016
Dr. Stuer checking out Sasha’s new custom boot

I’m not a savvy blogger  so unsure of menus and widgets. Please click to see Sasha’s You Tube channel which chronicles her journey from onset until present day. If you like it, please subscribe.

💜Next up ~ to wrap the hock or not💜