{Update on Steven Jalapeño}

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.

As many of y’all know, Steven had a tragic accident a few weeks ago and suddenly became paralyzed. I tried to give everyone updates on social media but it just became too much to try and keep up with. Thank you to every single person who reached out to me asking how he is doing. I feel so bad that I have been slacking on giving updates so I wanted to write a blog post answering some of the questions I received about what happened, Steven’s treatment and how we are going to move forward with his diagnosis. I’m also including a few of my favorite photos of Steven so you can have some smiles in between the sad talk.

 I realized a lot of people completely missed my Instagram Stories on what happened with Steven. Grayson and I chose not to post on social media besides what I mentioned on my Stories and instead, try and take care of everything without having to process other people’s suggestions or thoughts. It is always so overwhelming to bring so many other people into the situation when we wanted to really focus on what the experts were going to tell us.

Let’s go back to three weeks ago. What seemed like a normal Friday was quickly going to change. Steven and I were going out for his routine potty break and occasional squirrel chase. I was holding him and we both spotted the same squirrel on the ground by their favorite tree. After Steven was honed in, I put him on the ground to run after his buddy. His usual squirrel chase was about to change all of our lives forever. Halfway through his sprint, he screamed, immediately fell over and tried to pull himself out of sight to the bushes. I immediately ran over thinking he would be ok but he was screaming so loud and stiff as a board.

We got back inside and I put him on the bed trying to figure out what my next steps were. Steven has had some issues in the past where he would jump off something too fast and not be able to use one of his legs but that would last maybe 5 minutes. This was much worse and so much different. I called Grayson and asked what he thought I should do. In the past, with anything that happens to Steven, I’m on the phone with one of my best friends who owns the vet clinic we go to. I didn’t want to be that worry wart dog mom but knew this one wasn’t right and that I would highly regret not taking him in. I called the vet and they told me to get there ASAP.

We rushed to the vet and Steven still couldn’t walk. His entire body was hard as a rock and he was miserable. At this point, worry is starting to set in as I know he’s never going to be able to walk again. They suggest I leave him there so they can do X-Rays and give him the proper exam. Talk about the longest day of my life. They finally called and Grayson went to pick him up. We were told that he has IVDD or Intervertebral disc disease.

Intervertebral disc disease is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.Talk about worst case scenario AND it was a Friday so if anything happened we would be taking him to the ER. I don’t think either of us slept the first night. We were all trying to get used to this drastic change, trying to keep Steven medicated and comfortable and what our next steps would be. Saturday rolls around and we are trying to keep it together. Just thinking back to those first few days tears me up inside. Steven can’t do anything on his own anymore; everything we have all known is never going to be the same. The saddest part is he has no idea what is going on…

That Saturday morning, we both go outside to help Steven go to the bathroom because he can’t stand on his own anymore. Grayson was on potty patrol for the first few days because I couldn’t keep it together taking him outside. Every time I would try and set him down he would just collapse and I would break down crying. We ended up going back to the vet before they closed that day to see another vet who could look him over and perform some of the tests in front of us so we could see what they were talking about. He failed every reflex test which is never good news.

No one could tell us a specific prognosis nor could they tell us if he definitely needed surgery. They told us to keep him calm and confined until we could go see a neurologist. This is about the time I started posting on Instagram Stories. Little did we know there is only ONE animal neurologist in Austin. Bad news is that we would have to go in on Sunday night and try and admit him to the ER to even get seen by this neurologist because she was booked out for weeks. We go in Sunday night around 6pm in hopes to just check him in to be seen first thing in the morning. More bad news… even if we did admit him, the neurologist was too busy to see him as an ER patient. We talked to a vet while we waited and he did a few tests on Steven.

Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad news and Steven somewhat passed a few of the tests. The main one – he knew where his legs were in space. That means that if they tried to tip him over or put him on his side unwillingly, he would try and catch himself with his legs. Since we weren’t able to see the neurologist we ended up getting the next best thing; her surgeon. I made an appointment the next morning to go see him. So far, out of every vet we had seen we were told we could go either way… Half said he should have surgery and the other half thought he might make a recovery without.

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.The next morning I took Steven in to see the surgeon and he seemed very optimistic that he could potentially make a recovery without surgery. We would have to keep him confined in a baby’s Pack n Play for the next 6 weeks not letting him walk AT ALL unless he was on a leash going to the bathroom. He suggested we bring him back in 3 weeks to have another checkup to see if surgery would be needed.

Longest and hardest 3 weeks ever. As most of y’all know by now, Steven is my child. Grayson and I don’t have kids so we baby Steven to the max. The next 2.5 weeks were challenging on everyone, including poor Steven. He was so sad, couldn’t walk, was having to take constant medication and rest 24/7. It’s so sad when they have absolutely no idea why they are being punished. We both couldn’t leave Steven alone during that time so I had to clear my entire schedule the first week to stay home with him. I ended up having a huge 6 day job the next week so Grayson was having to work from home and take him up to work. We were so scared that if we left him alone he would get too upset and end up hurting himself even more.

Over those next couple of weeks Steven started making some remarkable progress. He started feeling a little more in his legs and started trying to crawl around a little more. We would be able to set him down to potty on his own and he would try and walk around a little, do his business and then fall over. Each day was getting a little better so I was extremely confident and hopeful that our surgeon visit would be a good one.

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.Last Monday I took him to see the surgeon and he gave me the best news ever! HE DOESN’T NEED SURGERY!! At least for now, but I’ll take it. Steven was passing all of his sensory tests but he still isn’t out of the woods yet. As of today, we are still having to carry him everywhere, he is on medication 24/7, he can’t go on walks anymore, he will never be able to jump off of anything, he can’t go up or down stairs, he can’t walk on hardwoods or our concrete floors, and he is going to need to be crated constantly. All things he hasn’t been used to his entire life. We’ve always had homes or condos with stairs in them along with concrete and hardwood floors. He is being monitored at all times.

Thankfully, Steven is in great spirits. We try and take him on outings and now I am in charge of chasing the squirrels with him in my arms. We go back to the surgeon in a few more weeks to get a definitive answer on whether he will need surgery or not. Apparently, there is a very tight window on how long you can wait to have surgery from a ruptured/herniated disk. If we wait too long he wouldn’t be a candidate for the surgery and would need to have a wheelchair.

We are very hopeful that Steven will make a full recovery and I will keep everyone updated with his progress. THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out. We are so grateful to have such amazing friends and family who care about Steven just as much as we do.

Now check out these super cute photobombs from one of my photoshoots years ago! He was a hair monster!!

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.

DTKAustin is sharing an important story about her Brussels Griffon, Steven, and what it's like living with a dog that has Intervertebral disc disease.


  1. October 30, 2017 / 5:56 am

    Ashley, I had no idea. I’m praying for Steven and you guys! I know how much a fur baby means. They are our real babies and world. Thankful he is having a bit of progress and praying for more!! Thinking of all of you, xo.

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Thank you so much, friend. It’s definitely been a challenge but we’re definitely trying to make the best of it so he still has a happy life! We’re hoping for an almost full recovery one of these days but we’re definitely going to have to keep a REALLY close eye on him from now on. 🙁

  2. Didi
    October 30, 2017 / 7:47 am

    I’ve been praying for Steven ever since Pam told me about it on her last visit. I’m so glad he’s doing better. Did Pam tell you about the slings you can get , or a pillow case to support him while he walks around a little? The muscles in his front legs need to stay strong. I’m sure you have great vets and they’ll take good care of him. I love you all.

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:12 pm

      Thank you Aunt Didi. She did tell me about some of the options and we will definitely try some of those if he doesn’t get better. 🙂

  3. October 30, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I’m so sorry Ashley. I know how much you love him. Praying for a quick recovery

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Lisa. I hope you’re doing well!

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:10 pm

      Poor thing! How old was her dog?? Is he doing ok now??

  4. October 30, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    ASH, oh my goodness. I was in TEARS reading this post. I somehow missed your IG story about Steven and had no idea this was going on. Poor baby! I am so sorry he has to go through this. Keeping all 3 of you in my prayers… not just Steven, but you and Grayson as well because I know this is hard on you two as well. Sending love your way.

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:10 pm

      It’s the saddest thing ever but we are definitely figuring things out day by day and really hoping he makes some sort of recovery.

  5. October 30, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    Oh my goodness what an eye-opening post! Hope your little cutie is doing okay. Sending prayers! XO

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Thank you so much. Definitely something we NEVER thought about or worried about until it actually happened and now it’s too late. 🙁

  6. October 30, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Awwww, I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Sending love and prayers to the little guy. Hang in there babe

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Thank you so much sweet girl. We’re definitely taking things day by day.

  7. October 30, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    Ashley, so sorry that you have to go through this, but I’m so happy to hear that there may be hopeful news! LOVE the photobombs! <3

    • October 30, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Thank you so much, friend. I hope you are doing well! It’s been way too long!!

  8. October 30, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    Oh Ashley, that is so intense. Before we had human kids, I had a dog child too (nicknamed Bubby; I named my blog/brand after him). He had a serious disease too called Laryngeal Paralysis, and I remember those periods where we lived in fear. I’m so glad Steven is doing so well and will continue to send so much love and positive energy your way. <3

  9. October 30, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    I had no idea you were going through this! I’m so glad to know that he isn’t going to need surgery! I hope he continues to improve and get back to normal <3

    Lindsey | http://www.seamlesssea.com

  10. Jessica
    October 30, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    Thanks for the update! Poor baby. Sounds like you guys are making the most out of it and taking it day by day!

  11. October 30, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    So sorry about that! Praying for you and for Steven!

  12. October 31, 2017 / 12:01 am

    I am so sorry you and your pup are going through this. I’m a dog mom and my dog is my child. I really hope he gets better. Praying for you and your pup. 🙂 xo

  13. October 31, 2017 / 1:14 am

    Aw ashley!! So many mixed emotions. Your poor baby! He is so so lucky to have you and Grayson as parents, wish him a full recovery!!

  14. Kristin Danaher
    October 31, 2017 / 3:19 am

    Thank you so much for posting this update! I’ve been thinking of you guys often, and I’m so relieved to hear things are improving little by little. I certainly understand how hard this must be for you – he IS your baby! Lilly and I will be sending up some prayers for continued healing!!! Love you!

  15. Cristina
    October 31, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    Aww poor little fella! I am glad he is on the road to recovery. Pets are members of our family. It’s never easy when they go through moments like this.



  16. Angelle
    November 1, 2017 / 5:07 am

    Wow. This breaks my heart. We have two fur babies, and I couldn’t imagine what this would do to our family. Love that he is getting better. Praying for a full recovery for him.


  17. November 1, 2017 / 5:43 am

    So glad Steven is feeling better! I’ll continue to send good vibes his way so he doesn’t need surgery. My dog is my baby too and I can’t imagine how this all felt for you!

  18. November 1, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Oh my goodness your poor fur baby. I’m so sorry! I am so glad he is getting better and praying for your family as he recovers!

  19. November 1, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    I’m so sorry Ashley! Glad he is recovering! I can imagine the stress and heartache that put you through seeing him in that kind of pain.

  20. November 1, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    So sorry Ashley! It is really difficult to go through this! Hope everything will be better in a few days

  21. November 1, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    So sorry to hear this news friend. my dog is my baby too so I completely understand feeling helpless. It sounds like you are a great mama and take care of him<3 I pray everything goes back to normal soon!

  22. November 2, 2017 / 12:04 am

    Omg I can’t imagine the stress and pain you’ve been dealing with these last few weeks! Nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain. I hope he makes a full recovery. xo

  23. November 2, 2017 / 1:42 am

    AWW I hope he has a speedy recovery! He is sooo cute.

  24. November 2, 2017 / 5:01 am

    Oh my gosh the poor thing!! Do they know how this happened? Like was it because he hurt himself or just his genetics? I’m glad he’s doing better and is on the mend, hopefully he won’t need surgery!! I will be thinking about you all!

  25. November 2, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Aww I am so sorry! Praying for him and hoping he has a speedy recovery! He is so so cute!

    xoxo, Hannah

  26. November 5, 2017 / 1:56 am

    I read through the entire post! Poor Steven! The worst part is he has no idea why his whole world is upside down! I am hoping he makes a speedy recovery!


  27. Nataly
    November 5, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    This is so heartbreaking to have go through all this, but I am so glad he is getting better! He is literally the cutest doggie ever!!

  28. November 7, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I’m sorry to hear this! I have no human children but 9 fur-kid’os & they are my life too, so I know how helpless & heartbreaking this kind of thing can be. I am glad that the news seemed to get better as time went on. I have a friend who’s dachshund has that same issue & it was a very stressful several wks. He made a full recovery & I really hope that you’re little sweetheart will too & soon. Even if he can’t have his completely regular life back, he will always feel complete care & love thanks to having such an amazing dog-momma like you, so remember that! Best wishes xoxo

    Kara Aragon

  29. November 7, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    Ahh he is darling! Glad to hear he will make a full recovery!

  30. November 9, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    Aww It’s so good to hear he’s doing better! I don’t know what I would do if one of my dogs had that issue, you are truly an amazing doggie mamma!

  31. Raina
    March 25, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    Hi Ashley,

    I came across your post as our little pup was just diagnosed with IVDD. It’s been two weeks of crate rest, medication, and tears in our house. I wanted to find out how Steven is doing now! I’m sure you experienced the same, in that it’s really hard to find positive information on dogs living with IVDD. I’m just looking for a little hope that while we’re definitely going to have to make some changes for our Linus he will still live a happy and quality life. Any advice on managing this would be so appreciated!

    • March 26, 2018 / 6:27 pm

      OH NO! I am so sorry to hear that. 🙁 I know exactly how you feel and it was one of the toughest times to get through. I am happy to say Steven is WALKING again!! He is probably at about 75% recovery since it happened and we have had to make some major changes around the house. He still sleeps in a Pack n Play and no longer is allowed on the furniture. But he is off of all of his meds. I would highly recommend keeping your pup as still and calm as possible and the medication was a blessing for us. Steven was slowly weaned off of it and kept getting better and better. I don’t think he will ever have a full recovery but he is able to walk around and kind of trot around. Stay positive! I know it’s hard because we didn’t think he would ever be able to walk again. We were prepared to get him some wheels if we needed to or even fork over the $$ for surgery. The surgeon we met with every 2 weeks was extremely helpful and said that there is a 6-8 week window where surgery is optimal but he said that it could go either way and to wait and see if he improves. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. I am here to help anyway I can!

  32. Siri
    July 28, 2019 / 8:32 pm

    Hi!!! Its good to hear about sweet lil stevens getting better and kudos to his positive spirit…so how is he doing now ? All the goodness and health to the lil one and hope is doing all great now..

    It was only today that our 3yr old pet was diagnosed with IVDD but there were no xrays and the vet at the emergency clinic( as it is a sunday and he was in severe pain since morning , so we tuk him to an emergency clinic ) said that there is a CHANCE that he would recover with the meds within 4 weeks…so he is all down with the meds given to him this morning but we just cant get over the image of him staying this way his whole long life…there were all the muscle relaxats and opoids and anti inflammatorys…so hoping he will get well soon…how do you suggest us going further for an mri in this month ? Like do you suggest any other care that should be taken to have the best recovery ?

    • Maria
      December 4, 2019 / 8:55 pm

      Hi same situation happen with my baby over this thanksgiving weekend any updates for any dogs with medication that has IVDD just trying to get some idea if this will help or any suggestions I would be grateful for my mother and I are extremely depressed and helpless at this point any advice would help at this point I hope all the babies are healing well ❤️

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