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The Funny and The Not So Funny Moments of Having a Dog With Neurological Deficits

Sometimes we have to laugh at the predicaments spawned by Lilly’s ongoing neurological problems — otherwise, we’ll cry. Here are a few examples of the funny and the not so funny moments in our lives.


While driving home from Lilly’s fourth and final cytarabine injection recently, she began mumbling and rumbling in her crate. Now, Lilly is typically quiet in the car, so the more she “talked,” the more I talked back. We weren’t saying anything in particular — just noises.

Then, all of a sudden, she began howling.

Usually, I have to cue a good howl out of our intrepid canine heroine, as seen in this howling video page, which includes a darling, old video of Lilly laughing, but she began singing on her own.

Who knows why? But Lilly decided to bring the hills alive with the sound of music.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, laughing stick figureFunny

We’ve joked on Facebook about our macabre and often crass humor that helps us cope with the caretaking stress, a full year into our brain drama with Lilly.

Lilly only gets about a 3-5 second warning before poops start coming out. This rotten incontinence!

When she has a dog diaper on and this happens, her tail sticks out / up at a funny angle, and she starts walking weird toward the nearest door.

And, I know this is a bit obscene, but we call that particular look … a butt boner.

I know. Icky. Tacky. Gross.

But, that’s exactly what it looks like, so anytime Lilly needs to poop, you can hear me or Tom shouting, “Butt boner!” and see us racing Lilly outside to finish her business. It makes us laugh.

Once, during a work conference call, Lilly began pooping. You’ll be happy to know that I managed to change her diaper while maintaining full professionalism and without yelling, “Butt boner!”

Whew! That was close.

Not So Funny

Sometimes I suspect that Lilly’s vision is impaired some days more than others. Last week, it manifested as her refusal to walk on my left side during our stroll up the road and back, but it also resulted in her crashing into a couple of walls.

The worse crash happened when Lilly tried to sass Ginko on his way outside to potty. He gave her a stern body-check because, frankly, he gets sick of her crap.

Because she hadn’t judged the gap between Ginko and the wall properly, Lilly:

  • Crashed into the wall
  • Fell down the step between the hall and the living room
  • Flipped onto her back and stayed there like a stranded turtle

It broke my heart. I had to help her stand up. She was uninjured, but it’s a clear example of her ongoing physical / neurological deficits.

Not So Funny

New Year’s Eve it has become a tradition to share a simple family meal with some neighbors. I had just showered and put on cute (not fancy) clothes before the party.

Then, Lilly walked up reeking of poop. Stink-o-rama.

Usually, it’s just a matter of a quick diaper change — no muss, no fuss. But, this time, Lilly had suffered a bout of diarrhea.

I won’t skeeve you with the details, but it was gross. Nonetheless, I got her cleaned up before we left for the party, where all the dogs were stuck to me … *sigh*

Not So Funny

Last Thursday morning Lilly woke me up early, and I found her completely covered in stink. She hadn’t pooped, and she hadn’t really peed in her crate / bedding any more than usual, but it’s almost like she was covered in smelly Vaseline.

My best guess is that the baby wipes I’ve been using to keep her clean between baths must have left some residue that reached critical mass, but she was gross.

I mean gross, beyond gross.

Now, I’m a tiny bit barfy when it’s early and I’m tired anyway, but I nearly threw up on our poor girl. She smelled that bad.

So, even though it was early, even though it was like 50 degrees in the back bathroom, into the shower we hopped. Then, I did a couple HUGE loads of laundry.


I do my best to take it all in stride ~~ the ups and the stinky downs. Honestly, if we could *just* get the incontinence under control / improved, things would be almost normal … or, at least, I’d have more time to work on Lilly’s physical therapy and neuroplasticity work, rather than constantly cleaning up her, myself, and the house.


P.S. Lilly had an neurological exam / recheck appointment today. I’ll try to get the latest news posted soon.


Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

miriam - January 14, 2013

I am so happy Lilly has you to endure this with her. My heart breaks for both of you but I laugh becuase you are all doing your best to get through it.

bail bonds men - January 14, 2013

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Jodi - January 14, 2013

I’m sorry, I laughed at butt boner. I couldn’t help myself.

The humor must be essential to help you get through this ordeal. So answer one question, who first came up with butt boner?
Jodi recently posted..Monday MischiefMy Profile

    Roxanne Hawn - January 14, 2013

    Go ahead and laugh, Jodi. It is pretty funny. Crass, but funny. I would ask Tom to confirm, but he would be mortified that I revealed that little code-word. So, we’ll have to go with my memory, which says I’m the one who coined that illustrious name.

carol - January 14, 2013

Bless you for your love and care for Lilly! I wish more dog owners showed such dedication! I would love for you to repost this stoy on our blog. I think dog owners could benefit by following your lead on how to lobe and care for our 4 footed family members. Too many take the easy way out at the first sign of distress.

    Roxanne Hawn - January 14, 2013

    Carol ~ You are welcome to introduce with your own words and LINK to this post, but Google frowns upon the same content appearing on more than one site. So, we don’t allow direct duplication of our blog posts because it can harm both sites. Thanks for your interest.

Lynn - January 14, 2013

I think butt boner is hilarious! I truly sympathize with the constant clean-up, though. The last year or so of our diabetic hound’s life was one long round of mopping up puddles and poo and washing her bedding. She sometimes used to fall down and need help getting up, too, but in her case it was just rickety old age.

Cooking her meals, twice-daily injections and all the clean-up was a bit of an ordeal, and we didn’t sleep through the night for at least a year. But she was the sweetest dog and lived to be 17, to the vet’s amazement. I don’t regret a moment of the time we spent caring for her. You’ll be the same with Lilly, when you look back on it, hopefully many years down the road. Although fingers crossed that whole butt-boner business will be remedied soon.

Hilary - January 14, 2013

I enjoyed reading this! You have to laugh when you have a pet with these kinds of problems… I’m glad you wrote about it, as we can all relate–and feel exhausted at the same time. We all know Lilly is coping the best she can, and you are, too! Keep up the laughing…!

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