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Cal 

MA - 2019

My baby Cal, a chihuahua/pug mix (a.k.a. “chug”) was brought to Massachusetts from Arkansas as a rescue. When I went to the adoption group’s meet-and-greet event, I knew this fuzzy little pup I had read about online was spoken for by another family. I had decided to go anyway just to learn more and meet other dogs. When I arrived, I asked if “Charlie Brown” was there just so I could see him in person. As it turned out, the other family had not taken him after all. A volunteer put the tiny pup in my arms, I gave it a little thought, and he came home with me instead! I renamed him Cal, and he has been my adorable little boy for almost five years now.

Since then, life has been a little tumultuous, but he has been by my side through it all. As of a few months ago, he finally has his own yard and a beautiful park just down the street. One of the reasons I was most excited to move to our current home was that he would have space right outside his door to run around every day. When he is not being a rambunctious little rascal, he is the cuddliest dog I have ever met. He is my little shadow, and he is such a hilarious and expressive little guy. When anyone sees him running laps around an open field, his joy is so contagious :)

One week he seemed to feel a little sick—nothing too serious but I monitored for any changes. A few days later, I came home from work and his back legs gave out as he tried to walk out of his crate. I brought him to the emergency vet, where they told me it could be a back injury. The next morning, he was completely paralyzed in his back legs, and I rushed him to the nearest animal hospital. At the hospital, they immediately brought him in the back to start pain medication, and so began some of the scariest hours of my life.

The doctor brought me an estimate for the services Cal might need, and frankly I could not afford it. She was compassionate and arranged for me to make a smaller payment first so the team could proceed with diagnostics. However, I only had a few hours to figure out how to pay for the deposit on actual treatment (not to mention whatever balance would remain in the end). I had to face a lot of questions, including whether the treatments could restore a good quality of life. If not, then was the money “worth it”? Asking that last question made me sick to my stomach. He had such a zest for life—it seemed beyond wrong not to give him a chance to fight.

Today Cal is doing well in his recovery from IVDD! The surgery went well and he showed progress very quickly. The beginning was overwhelming at times, but he can already walk again on non-slip rug pads or with help from a hind-leg sling. He is not too bothered by his physical challenges—he just wants to wander around and smell the smells of autumn like every year past.

Thanks to Brown Dog Foundation, I am able to focus fully on Cal’s recovery and ongoing needs, instead of worrying how to pay the balance of the surgery bills. And while the financial support was so critical, also the support and care shown by the Foundation throughout the application process was a true comfort as I adjusted to our new routines. I never imagined Cal and I could actually be approved for something like this, but the foundation’s support has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. At this rate, it seems that Cal will be able to enjoy life just as much as before, even if we have to downgrade from climbing mountains to strolling on grassy hills. It goes without saying that yes, the money was worth it. 

For more information about Intervertibral Disk Disease, visit PetMD. For information on the holistic treatment of IVDD and DM, visit Lessons From a Paralyzed Dog.