Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Today's Dog on the Blog: Missy Overcomes the Odds!

Missy is the star of this video. What she is doing seems mundane enough -- she is just walking. But for Missy, this is HUGE.

You see, Missy was hit by a car a number of years ago. It broke her back, and she lost the use of her back legs. Her family did not want her after that.

This took place in Albuquerque, where we lived at the time. Missy was treated by Dr. Julia Skains at Good Shepherd Animal Clinic, and Dr. Skains and Cindy and the rest of the staff would not euthanize Missy just because she couldn't use her back legs. They asked if Missy could come live with us. Dr. Skains always believed that Missy would walk again. When we met Missy, we were skeptical.

There was never any evidence that Missy felt much of anything in those legs, and she just dragged them behind her. She was able to get around using her two front legs, sort of pulling herself along. We bought a cart for Missy, that was custom built for her size and measurements. The one thing we had not thought about was that Missy cannot lay down to rest, when she is strapped into her cart. So she uses the cart for play, but when she is tired and wants out, she barks until someone takes her out of her cart. On more than one occasion, we failed to respond quickly enough and Missy chewed off the straps to get out by herself!! (Ricky's mom, Nellie, sewed us some new straps each time!)

As the years passed, and Missy made no attempt to use her back legs, we just figured that Missy was destined to be paraplegic. It does not seem to bother her. She is in a group of five dogs. When they are playing, Missy will sit in place and as dogs chase by her, they will pause to chew at Missy and she will nip back at them! This is a really sweet group of dogs, and the others have always included Missy in their group activities. She is clearly a valued member of her little pack!

About two months ago, we were startled to see Missy standing on all four legs. Actually, she was standing on three legs with the fourth sort of dangling, as the video shows. But the use of that third leg in back allowed her to stand fully upright! And as the days have passed, Missy has been exercising and strengthening her third leg more and more. This video clearly shows Missy walking -- not just pulling herself along with her front two legs, but standing upright and moving forward on three legs!

We are excited and happy for Missy and this new milestone in her life! Our hat is off to Dr. Skains in Albuquerque who predicted that Missy would one day walk again. She was right!

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
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wharton, texas

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