Our dearest Spicy Boi, aka Funcle Spice, was born here on the Ranch on May 5th 2018. We immediately knew he was special and different from his siblings. Much smaller, very feisty, and in need of a little support.
For the first few weeks we, the humans of the Ranch, assisted wee Spice with nursing. He was very strong and determined, but much smaller than his siblings. So naturally he struggled to power through the crowd to get equal time nursing. We would separate mama Pi and Spice from the other meeps and give him a chance to have some solo time with her every few hours.
He continued to grow, albeit much more slowly than his siblings, and we started to notice that not only was he small, but he also seemed to have neurological issues. He would hold his head a little off kilter when he was sitting still. This was our first clue and lead to a ton of research to help us determine what was happening to the little one. The conclusion, cerebellar hypoplasia.
Cerebellar hypoplasia is a disease that denotes an inadequate development of the cerebellum, a section of the brainstem largely responsible for modulating motor impulses. Affected dogs and cats therefore fail to move normally, especially when it comes to maintaining normal balance, posture, and coordination.
In other words Mr. Spice had struggles with balance and coordination. Figuring this out had both a positive and a negative side. We learned that there is no cure or treatment for the disease. There was little we could do to improve on his condition. But! the silver lining was that dogs and cats with the disease often lead relatively normal lives as they learn to cope with the condition on their own. They are more accident prone, but otherwise have a normal lifespan.
We decided it would be best to keep the wee ween so that we could ensure that he would have an opportunity to lead a happy and enriched live here on the Ranch. He absolutely loves his pack and the meeps that come now and then. Not only is he hilarious to be around, he is kind and loving.
He's also an important teacher for us. Reminding us to appreciate the small moments of happiness and pleasure. A weird smell in the grass, a warm patch of sun on the floor to soak in, a snack to get a good chew on... All of these things are the building blocks to a good life if you're a ween. And that helps us look for the little building blocks to our own happiness every day and to spend a little time appreciating them.