Daisy is a 3-year-old Yorkie who lived with a family and a Lab. Daisy suffered serious injuries when the Lab accidentally stepped on her back.
This adorable dog is now paralyzed in her rear legs. She was given up by her family, who felt they could no longer care for her. They brought her to Dr. Joann Fontaine at theHealthy Heart Vet Clinicin Loudon, N.H.
Lucky for Daisy, Dr. Fontaine has a big heart. She has been treating the sweet dog and getting her ready for adoption.
Joy Hammer works at the Healthy Heart Vet Clinic and has been fostering Daisy at her home in the evenings. Joy takes her to work at the clinic by day.
Daisy was outfitted with aWalkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair,which she took to within a minute of being snapped in. Daisy has a lot of energy, which was put to immediate use in the dog cart!
Joy reports that Dr. Fontaine will be spaying Daisy soon. Joy will provide physical therapy for Daisy to see if some mobility can be restored to her hind legs. The Walkin’ Wheels will allow Daisy to try out her rear legs as well. When Joy does not place them in the stirrups, Daisy can try move her legs.
HandicappedPets.comwill be following this story and will provide updates. Daisy will be ready for adoption sometime soon.
With a face like that, it won’t take long for someone to fall in love with her and give her a loving home.
In the meanwhile, Daisy was fortunate to be dropped off at the Healthy Heart Vet Clinic with such compassionate and generous pet care professionals!
There are pages of online dog rescue postings with photos of all sorts of dogs who need a forever home, including disabled dogs. One might imagine that it could be a little bit harder to find a home for a disabled dog. Potential caretakers might be fearful of extra care that might be needed, and whether they can provide that care.
Courtney Dunning took that plunge eight years ago and hasn’t regretted it for one minute. She was in her 20s and embarking on her adult life and career and wanted a dog in the picture. Because she is a nurse, she thought she might be ideally suited to adopting a dog with disabilities.
To her surprise, “It wound up to be no harder than caring for any other dog. You just put your efforts into slightly different areas. Caring for a disabled dog isn’t out of anyone’s reach; you just have to go into it feeling like you can do it!”
Courtney and Lucy in 2008
Lucy in 2016
Courtney decided to adopt Lucy, a mixed breed sato (street dog) rescue from Puerto Rico, incontinent and paralyzed in her rear legs. Lucy had been up for adoption online for over a year at that point.
After the first couple of days of transition, Lucy was eager to run and play and start her new life. Courtney didn’t find diapering Lucy to be a big deal, and a wheelchair allowed Lucy to be mobile.
“Lucy doesn’t know she’s different from other dogs. She doesn’t let anything stop her! She’s just being a dog and loving life.”
In the Spotlight
Little did Courtney know thatHandicappedPets.comwould spot her one day when they were walking through a small town in New Hampshire. They asked if they could photograph them, and now Courtney and Lucy grace the company’s website pages, as well as banners and boxes.
Lucy races around in her Walkin’ Wheels, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she uses wheels instead of her rear legs. The duo’s “can do” attitude has brought them to several “peak” experiences, as in mountain peaks!
Courtney and Lucy climbed Pack Monadnock several years ago, and then began training to make the climb to the top of Mt. Washington. The day of the climb, Courtney was a bit nervous, but the climb went extremely well. They made it to the top in about six hours.
Here is a video of the climb:
Courtney reflects on the bond she has with Lucy. “It’s a different kind of bond that you get with a dog compared to a relationship with a human. It has fewer complications, it’s more simple. Like caring for a child, you take care of a dog. It’s an important job, and you get a lot out of it. It’s been a really great experience.”
Sounds like adopting a disabled dog is very similar to adopting any other dog – it’s a really great experience!
Ruth Dodge rescues dogs — lots of dogs (5!). Two of them are in Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairs.Ruth sat down with Miss Southern Rhode Island Caitlin O’Neill to discuss life with the newest member of her fur family, Beau, who is a double amputee.
Ruth rescued Beau from an abusive situation through a rescue in Arizona. Through much medical consultation, it was determined that Beau needed to have both of his rear legs amputated. Ruth provided excellent post-surgical care and got him a Walkin’ Wheels cart, which gave him his mobility back again.
Beau doesn’t seem to know he has lost his rear legs. He’s on the go all the time, and his smile is absolutely infectious! Here are 5 reasons why this dog is so happy:
1.He found a forever home with a loving pet caretaker.
2.He has lots of dog siblings.
3.He’s got a set of wheels that fit well and allow him to fly.
4. He lives in the moment.
5.He doesn’t think about what he doesn’t have – he only acts on what he believes is possible!
We can all learn something from Beau. In fact, Ruth will be taking her double amputee powerhouse to schools soon to teach children about dogs with differences.
Thank You to Compassionate Pet Care Owners Everywhere!
Thank you to Renee Mills, CCRP, for writing this blog post.
Veterinary professionals may recommend or utilize splints for a variety of reasons to aid in healing animals. Splints are usually applied below the stifle (knee) on the hind leg, or below the elbow on the front leg. They provide protection and support to an injured area while keeping the leg in a normal walking angle.
The purpose of a well-fitting splint is to prevent movement of an injured area, while providing comfort and support to weakened or unstable joints. The support of a splint allows weight bearing of the affected limb, while preventing sores and other potential trauma to the injured area or joint during the healing process. Speak with your veterinary professional to see if your pet is a candidate for a splint.
Forelimb Common Conditions that May Benefit from Splints:
Osteoarthritis of the carpal or metacarpal joints
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
Soft tissue injuries to carpal or metacarpal tendons/ligaments
Carpal or metacarpal joint instabilities or malformations
Brachial plexus or radial nerve damage injuries
Neurological conditions causing knuckling of paw
Hind Limb Common Conditions that May Benefit from Splints:
Osteoarthritis of the tarsal or metatarsal joints
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
Soft tissue injuries to tarsal or metatarsal tendons/ligaments
Achilles tendon injury
Tarsal or metatarsal joint instabilities or malformations
Neurological conditions causing knuckling of paw
If your pet is a candidate for a splint, it will require extra care and attention on your part as the pet owner. Knowing how to monitor the splint makes for a well-informed pet owner.
Let’s review a few important points you should know:
Do not allow your pet to chew on the splint.
Splints must remain clean and dry to prevent moisture sitting against the skin.
If the splint gets wet, allow it to fully dry before reapplying.
It’s a good idea to check your pet’s toes daily for any swelling.If the toes become cool and/or puffy, it’s possible that the splint has been applied too tightly and is impairing the circulation of the limb and needs to be removed.
If your pet develops chafing of the skin in any area due to rubbing of the splint, you may have to add some padding or baby powder to the affected area.
As always, contact your veterinarian with any immediate concerns.
Splints can be vital to the healing process for our beloved pets. They provide protection, support, and comfort to weakened or unstable areas. Often they are a long-term solution to a degenerative problem, where otherwise a pet may struggle to walk. Consult with your veterinary professional to discuss the benefits a splint may offer your pet.
Thank you to freelance writer Elliot Caleira for writing this blog post.
Aging affects everyone, and as with humans, dogs are prone to the regular physical deterioration that comes with getting older. And just as we have to take special steps to prolong our lives and take care of ourselves as we age, we must do the same for our dogs.
The most common effect of aging for dogs is reduced mobility, especially in the hind legs. While this is something that is not entirely preventable in most breeds, there are certain ways in which you can keep your dog healthier for longer, and make their life more comfortable when mobility starts to deteriorate.
The main way to keep your dog healthy for as long as possible is to make sure that their lifestyle is consistently healthy. This includes a proper diet, and constant exercise. Regular walks are crucial in keeping good physical health for any breed, though the length of the walks will differ accordingly.
Check for Early Signs, and Address Them Immediately
Much of the best prevention comes in being aware of certain signs, and taking the correct measures to counter them. For example, if your dog is starting to gain or lose weight, or starts to stumble during long walks. They might also start to experience incontinence or bad breath (worse than normal!), or have wounds that will not heal. Regular checkups at the vet are essential, so that any of these symptoms can be addressed as early as possible.
Maintain Good Dental Health
A lot of more serious health issues start in the mouth. Good dental hygiene is therefore very important. Use dental chews or canine toothbrushes to keep your dog’s mouth clean, and try to prevent them from drinking stagnant water while out on walks.
What You Can Do to Help a Dog with Reduced Mobility
Reduce Their Diet
As dogs age, their metabolism changes and so they need fewer calories. Generally, a dog’s energy requirement will decrease by about 20 percent. If a dog has weaker hind leg
s, its activity will decrease as well. This means that its energy needs have decreased by a further 10-20%. As such, it is important to reduce your dog’s diet accordingly, or it will start to gain weight, making mobility even more difficult.
Keep Them Clean
If a dog has low mobility, it will fall on you to make sure that they are kept clean, as they will not be able to do this themselves. It is especially important if they have become incontinent, as urine will linger and hurt their skin. If it is just urine or some mud, a quick rinse will do, but every so often a deeper clean will be needed using a natural dog shampoo. There are plenty of choices to choose from!
Your aging dog is still that same dog that you know and love, it just might not be able to do some of the same things that it used to be able to. While it will be frustrating to have your dog defecate on the carpet, the struggles that it is facing are far worse than yours. Try to be as patient as possible, realize that these are natural effects of aging, and that they are not your dog’s fault. While your dog might not be exactly the same as it was, you can still enjoy a happy relationship for the remaining time you have together.
Thank you to Renee Mills, CCRP, inventor of the No-Knuckling Training Sock, for writing this blog post.
“My dog drags her paws when we go for walks.”
“Sport just doesn’t seem strong enough to lift the booties we’re using anymore.”
These were common concerns my clients would voice to me on a daily basis while working within a Veterinary Rehabilitation Department. As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, I spent years treating patients that were recovering from spinal surgeries, had suffered a stroke, or were just getting older and weak in the hind end. I would design rehab programs to include exercises that would increase strength and proprioception based on each patient’s needs. Dogs would walk over poles, balance on exercise balls, and wear booties to remind them to pick up their hind feet higher.
Finding the Best Solution
One common occurrence was most dogs would drag their hind legs more with booties on as they were still building strength during the recovery process. I struggled to advise my clients on the best solution to this problem. There was nothing lightweight enough on the market for these dogs. How could this be? I’d been experimenting with something to encourage these dogs to pick their hind feet up higher . . . then a light bulb went off.
The Gap Is Filled!
It was time to put the concept to the test. I started trying different materials, reworking strap placements, and spent countless hours using my own dog Cookie Monster as a baseline for development. After months of clinical trials, the positive patient response was overwhelming, and the No-Knuckling Training Sock was born.
I was seeing immediate results with my patients; it was lightweight, durable, and could even be used in the underwater treadmill by professionals. The gap in assistive devices for pets was now filled.
The No-Knuckling Training Sock was designed to encourage pets to lift their hind legs higher and decrease dragging or scuffing. Created specifically with hind leg weakness in mind, the joint supportive sock aids in retraining dogs how to walk again. The sock is a temporary training tool. It’s meant for short-term, multiple use to best retrain correct gait and hind paw placement.
So how does it work?
You place the training sock around the hock joint, put the padded nylon cord between the middle toes, and tighten. The padded cord stimulates the dog between the toes, which in return causes them to pick up the limb. It’s that simple to aid in the recovery of your four-legged family member.
Most commonly pet owners will place the sock on their pet for a two to five minute walk and then remove. For recommendations tailored specifically to your pet, it’s always best to consult with your Veterinarian or Physical Rehabilitation professional before using. They will be able to assist in developing the most beneficial time frames for usage and even work them in to other rehab exercises.
Thinking Outside the Box
Reflecting on the long journey which lead to the No-Knuckling Training Sock, I can’t help but look back at the fond memories of so many dogs who inspired me to think outside of the box. They challenged me to create a solution, to find a way to get them back on their feet. To know that I’ve invented hope for dogs and pet owners’ alike facing a tough illness, is the most heartwarming outcome I could’ve dreamed of!
A throwaway of a dog, and a pit bull at that. So begins the life of Ruby, who turned out to be just that: a gem.
Abandoned in an empty house at around six months old, the sickly pit bull was rescued bySt. Francis of Assisi Rescueand spent three weeks in an animal hospital. That’s when Pat and Lynn Bettendorf got the call asking them to foster the pup. It was Thanksgiving weekend. They already had five dogs and a houseful of family and friends on the way. They said “no” – twice. The third time the rescue called, they said “yes.” That “yes” not only changed the puppy’s life, it changed theirs – and a whole lot of other lives as well.
Fully aware of the breed’s innate strength and reputation, the Bettendorf’s are responsible pet owners who train their dogs well. Pat immediately recognized Ruby’s particularly gentle nature and went the extra mile to provide Ruby with a year of specialized training so that she could become a certified therapy dog, and later, a certified assistance dog.
She would go on to visit with and comfort elderly people in nursing homes, patients in hospitals, and elementary schools, shattering unjustified stereotypes of her breed wherever she went:
In the Spotlight
As if that wasn’t enough, Ruby also took the spotlight in live theater, playing the family dog in Cheaper by the Dozen, and a key role in the production Of Mice and Men.
Apparently loving the limelight, she also took second place in a nationwide Milk-Bone contest, which earned her a place on the famous dog treat box, as well as several media appearances.
Perhaps her biggest role has been pack leader, as her calm, unflappable nature made her a natural leader with her canine family members.
It’s a good thing she had things under control at the family home so that everything ran smoothly when the Bettendorf’s adopted a beautiful daughter from China, who joined the family at age two.
Maybe it was love at first sight, but Ruby and Sadie have been inseparable for the eight years since:
Pat Bettendorf and Ruby at a book signing.
Ruby then served as inspiration for Pat to take up the pen. She stars in two wonderfully entertaining and engaging books: Ruby’s TaleandRuby’s Road.
Pat and Ruby have traversed many roads on the way to various book signings. Ruby sits – or more often, lies down or snoozes – on a table next to Pat during the signings. She is ever gentle, ever the poster child for rescues and pit bulls.
Trials & Tribulations
Life has had its ups and downs for Ruby, just like for most everyone on the planet. Ruby underwent cancer surgery in 2009, which she pulled out of well with quality care. But Cushing’s Disease took its toll on the beloved pet, requiring some assistance for her hind legs, which she gets from a dog wheelchair. When Ruby got herWalkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairin the spring of 2016, Pat said,
“I still just can’t get over the dramatic – astounding – change in her life, especially her mental health. From depression to a vital, engaged member of the family again. Not to mention getting out and exploring the world., meeting and greeting people. To have a second chance at life!”
Therapy Dog on Wheels
Ruby is now visiting people and doing her therapy work on wheels, inspiring people in yet another way with her courageous spirit and sweet outlook on life. Her ability to open people’s hearts and minds seems to have no bounds.
What a Life!
One life. A dog’s life – a dog that was left to die in an abandoned house. She spreads love and good will, helps to educate and inspire, and comforts the sick and lonely. All this would have all been lost to the world had she not been rescued – and then cared for so lovingly by the Bettendorf family.
May Ruby’s life continue to sparkle for many more years to come.
How does a family wind up with 13 Dachshunds under one roof? Well, it happens with one rescue dog at a time. And it could never happen were it not for Carole Rowlette’s extremely large heart and the support of her husband David.
Carole lived much of her life as a nurse in California. She then retired and moved to Wyoming 10 years ago, where her sister and brother-in-law were living. Her background as a nurse is no surprise, given her natural inclination to nurture and tend to those in her care. Carole adopted many of her dogs from the Wyoming Dachshund Rescue.“They’re like little children; you love and protect them,” says Carole.
Yes, indeed, and she doesn’t just choose to love the ones that most people might think are easier to fall in love with. Carole rescues many Dachshunds with various types of special needs.
Take Lily. Carole and her family adopted Lily when she was three weeks old – born deaf and with bad vision. Now she’s five years old. “Lily sticks to me like glue,” says Carole.
One of her other dogs was born with one ear, another lost his eye to a cat. Another, a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix, was rescued after being hit by a car, fracturing her humerus and pelvis. “It was love at first sight,” Carole says matter of factly.
Three of her Dachshunds are in Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairs. “I’m a big advocate of these Walkin’ Wheels,” says Carole. “If the dog is injured and gets laser therapy and acupuncture in time, they can often walk again, because you take the pressure off the legs.”
She has seen real-life evidence of this on three occasions. Most recently, Carole had a foster dog in a Walkin’ Wheels. After exercising in the cart in addition to getting laser therapy and acupuncture, he was able to walk again. At that point he was given a forever home by another family.
With 13 dogs, most of whom have special needs, Carole certainly has her hands full. But she does it all with no complaint, making it seem natural to be so selfless and to take such good care of her canine family.
There is a financial cost as well. The average cost is about $1,000 a month for all the veterinary care that is required, but Carole doesn’t let anything compromise taking care of each dog as a beloved family member.
Carole and her husband sleep with nine of the dogs each night in their king-sized bed. The other four have their favorite sleeping spots elsewhere in the house. “We love every one of them,” says Carole.
There are few among us who haven’t been tempted to share “human” food with our pets. The important thing to remember is that just because something might be considered healthy for us (or not so healthy, but we eat it anyway), doesn’t mean those foods are safe for our furry friends. As a matter of fact, there are several fruits, vegetables and other food groups that are toxic for them. Following is a list of the top toxic “human” foods to avoiding feeding your dog(s).
High amounts of salt can cause sodium ion poisoning, excessive urination, and thirst in pets. Indications that your pet has consumed too much salt include depression, diarrhea, vomiting, elevated body temperature, tremors, seizures, and even death. Avoid feeding pets salt-heavy snacks like pretzels, popcorn with salt, potato chips, etc.
UNDERCOOKED and/or RAW FOODS
Raw eggs and meat may contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella that’s harmful to both humans and pets. Raw eggs also contain an enzyme called avidin that is known to lessen the assimilation of the B vitamin biotin, which can cause coat and skin problems. You should also avoid giving your pet raw bones, because they can end up choking on them. Raw bones can even cause a deadly injury, because splinters of bone can end up getting lodged in and puncturing your dog’s digestive track.
CHIVES, GARLIC, and ONIONS
These herbs and vegetables are known to cause gastrointestinal irritation, leading to red blood cell damage. Even though cats are more at risk, dogs are as well if they consume a large amount.
Dairy-based products can upset the digestive system. Pets don’t have significant amounts of the enzyme lactase which breaks down the lactose in milk.
All parts of citrus plants – the leaves, stems, peels, seeds, and the fruit itself contain citric acid which causes, not just irritation, but central nervous system depression if consumed in considerable amounts. Small amounts, like eating a little of the fruit, aren’t likely to cause major issues beyond a minor upset stomach.
All nuts contain substantial amounts of fats and oils that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly pancreatitis in pets. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous for pets to eat, potentially causing tremors, vomiting, hyperthermia, weakness, and depression in dogs.
RAISINS and GRAPES
While the actual toxic substance in raisins and grapes is unknown, these fruits can lead to kidney failure and death in pets. Common early symptoms include vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, and lethargy.
If your pet has consumed any of the foods listed above, try to determine the amount ingested, and immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline:
Tera, a 5-year-old German Shepherd, was rescued byBARRK Animal Rescue on Long Island, New York. Her former owners had dropped her at the shelter because her hind legs had given out. Tera was covered in ticks; the vet working on her took more than three hours to remove them. The shelter conjectured that her former owners kept her tied up outside and found her unable to stand up one day.
The shelter promptly had her checked by three different veterinarians in order to thoroughly assess Tera’s health options. They all came back with the same unfortunate diagnosis of cancer, covering 80-90% of her spine. Surgery was not an option because recovery would be too painful, and there was no guarantee that surgery would get rid of all the cancer. The vets gave her an estimated two to three months to live.
The folks at BARRK called Foster Dogs, Inc. (FosterDogsNYC) with the hope of enlisting Tera in their Fospice program so that she could live out her last days, however many there were, in a loving home.
FosterDogsNYC gave Allison Lind a call about this “special case.” Allison, her husband Matt, their rescue pup Frankie and cat Viper welcomed Tera with open arms, despite the fact that they were preparing to move to Seattle within a couple of months.
When Tera first came to their home, she didn’t understand what a dog bed was. The family would put her on a big, lush bed, and Tera would instantly pull herself off onto the hard floor. She also wouldn’t eat out of a dog bowl and would only eat off the ground. Tera clearly wasn’t used to being treated as a beloved family member.
Instead of flying to Seattle for their upcoming move as the family had originally planned, they opted to rent a large mini-van, outfitting the entire back with dog beds. They wanted to give Tera the cross-country adventure of her life! How about that?! Allison and Matt so fully demonstrate compassion – may the love they so freely give come back to them many times over!
ON THE ROAD!
The cross-country trip was indeed full of adventure, from staying in pup-friendly hotels (FosterDogsNYC even sponsored a night is a beautiful B&B on the river in Jackson Hole, WY); visiting the University of Notre Dame; seeing Old Faithful, buffalo, and caribou in Yellowstone National Park; getting VIP access to see Mt. Rushmore; chasing ducks in the Mississippi River; swimming in Montana (with a life jacket BARRK sent); nibbling grass overlooking the Teton Mountains; and meeting many, many dog lovers along the way who gave her more snuggles, hugs, and kisses than she’d had over the course of her lifetime (that is, until she met her new family!).
Now, Tera is living like a queen in the Seattle area. She lives by the water and wakes up every morning to seals swimming nearby and seagulls flying overhead. Tera gets to play in the grass, go swimming, and run with dogs around the yard. Allison reported that her plan is to spoil Tera with treats and love for every minute of every day that she has left.
“The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair was a huge part that changed Tera’s life for the better early on,” says Allison. “When she came to us, the only way to walk her was with a sling. But she’s a heavy girl (60+ pounds), so the sling was both arduous and awkward, and her walks were inevitably too short. (Even my strong husband was exhausted after a half block.) It was clear Tera didn’t understand why she couldn’t just go.
Through our volunteer network, we found someone who had the perfect-sized Walkin’ Wheels for her to borrow until we could get a permanent chair. When we first put Tera in it, she took to it instantly, as if she’d been in it all along. We buckled her up, and she took off down the block. She had freedom again! It was easily the most heart-warming thing I’ve ever seen. She had lost her ability to be a dog and didn’t understand, but when she has her wheels, she lights up – she’s a happy dog again! She has new life because of her wheels.”
Tera runs. She chases dogs down the beach at low tide. She is loved. Tera now knows the joy of living.
Thank you to people like Allison and Matt, and all the other amazing pet owners who rescue dogs and other animals who deserve a better life – who deserve a chance to experience the beauty of life that is possible when they are cared for and loved.
You can follow Tera and her family on Instagram @sheisquitefrank Visit @fosterdogsnyc and @barrkli on Instagram to learn more about these excellent rescue organizations.