TN Fund, 2012
Watch the video at the end of this story to see Buddy today!
"Buddy is the first dog I've adopted. His story began in an animal shelter when his first owner adopted him; abuse was part of his story then. However, abuse continued to be part of of Buddy's life when his first owner abandoned him with one of her colleagues who happened to be my neighbor. Apparently, Buddy became unwanted when the first owner adopted another and after three years with him decided to let him go. My neighbor had very poor health and confided that she was unable to keep Buddy and was looking for a new family for him. Before I could think the words through, I said that I would take him. He has since been the best decision that I made in 2011! Buddy is the example of how pets can transform a person with their unconditional love.
My first few months with Buddy consisted of getting him used to people. Although I don't have specifics on his past, it was clear by his demeanor that he has not had a stable, loving home. Buddy is a beautiful, compassionate, caring, loving, smart, well-behaved dog with all the characteristics from the Creator that SHOULD compel ANYONE to love him and enjoy him. Only abominable people would even consider hurting this dog in any way. With the compassion and care from neighbors, their dogs, and I Buddy became willing to trust people and learn how to play with other dogs again.
Four months into my adopting Buddy, I started to notice that he walked with difficulty and did not eat as much as he used to. To this day I don't know what caused this. I entertained different possibilities: his past abuse, his being a bit on the heavy side, genetics, combined with jumping off the bed and couch. Being a new dog owner I did not realize the dangers posed by allowing him to climb into the back seat of the car, or jumping off the bed. Although these behaviors in themselves may not have caused his condition, they enabled the horror that was about to ensue.
I took Buddy to a vet who has noticed slowness in the reflexes on his hind legs. She suggested that I have him rest (no jumping, no walks). I lost my hiking/walking friend for about two months. His condition continued to remain the same so I took him to the vet one more time who diagnosed him with degenerative disc disease. The vet suggested limited mobility, along with some medication that would help his muscles relax. She said that there are different stages involved in degenerative disc disease for which Buddy was in the middle stages. According to the vet the later stages consist of loss of sensory abilities in the area affected, paralysis, and the last stage (for which she warned only surgery can reverse) loss of the pain reflex. Buddy was a brand new dog with the medication; he started eating more, started shaking his body with excitement in the bumble bee dance fashion, and overall seemed a lot happier again! Until...January 1st 2012 which was a few days following our visit to the vet.
I returned home on New Year's day to find Buddy unable to move the rear part of his body. I can't put words to describe how horrified and sad and helpless I felt. In the wee hours of New Year's 2012, I took Buddy to the emergency vet services. The vet there tested his pain reflex by pinching his hind legs. This test was to show whether Buddy continued to have the pain reflex (an involuntary retracting movement of the legs when pressure or pain is applied). He failed it. The vet suggested immediate surgery for which I did not have any funds to cover. She proceeded to suggest a more conservative treatment with steroids which was the only thing I could afford.
The rest of the week was a horrifying experience of watching my best friend not being able to go to the bathroom by himself, having to take him back to the vet to insert a catheter so he can urinate, watching him eliminate in his own bed etc. Throughout this ordeal Buddy had no complaints! The vets prodded and poked and he has never even squealed in protest. Eventually he was able to urinate on his own (a paralyzed dog cannot urinate on his own), and began to see some movement of his rear legs but involuntary, not voluntary movement. The emergency vet and regular vet could not tell me he would recover. In fact, their experience with cases such as Buddy suggested that paralysis was inevitable. The only thing that Buddy COULD do, is wag his tail to let us know he's still fighting. The vet said the tail wagging was in fact voluntary movement :)
I researched the net to find funds to help my friend. I ran into the website for the Brown Dog Foundation. I applied knowing it was my last hope. My ONLY hope, because everyone around me suggested a surgery which cost as much as a brand new car!!! I could not and would not let Buddy suffer the way he suffered in the past again. He deserved happiness for once. Buddy needed a second chance.
Buddy received more "Get Well" cards and more visitors than I ever had in one week. Prayers, love, care and the hope from the Brown Dog Foundation kept him alive and recovering. In just less than two weeks, Buddy was walking again but still unstable. I want to emphasize that him walking is nothing but a pure miracle. I have records to show that he had absolutely no response in the rear part of his body, not even the ability to eliminate on his own! Buddy was scheduled for acupuncture arranged by the Brown Dog Foundation. In just one month since his paralysis, Buddy is running, rolling, jumping, wiggling, playing, walking, digging, shaking, sitting, stretching, YOU NAME IT! Anything with -ing at the end Buddy can do it!
Please pass this story on. If you have a dog who is paralyzed or in bad shape, please contact this wonderful foundation or donate to them. I am making myself available for anyone to contact me with questions or help as a result of my experience with this. The Brown Dog Foundation gives hope to helpless dogs and their owners to have a second chance with their best friend.