Robert’s had a long road since March 1. When Pets Alive pulled him he’d been sitting at the pound for three days after being hit by a car, and he was a mess. He got the best treatment – after an MRI and an ultrasound, he was rushed into surgery in the hope that he would someday walk on his own again. Sadly, that surgery does not seem to have been successful, and Robert’s mobility may be seriously compromised for the rest of his life. I have visited Robert at Pets Alive and paraplegic or not – he wants to GO! Robert has places to go, things to sniff, people to see!
Robert’s neurologist cleared him to try out a cart, which Eddie’s Wheels had offered to donate for him. Kerry, Pets Alive’s director, happened to mention to me how difficult it was to get accurate measurements on him, and I offered to drive him up so that he could be measured at the shop and try out a cart. One of my dogs uses a cart to get around and I was very glad that I had brought him to their shop to be measured; the owners and staff at Eddie’s could then really get a good look at him and figure out what might be best for him.
I got to Pets Alive early in the morning and loaded Robert into the car and we set off for Massachusetts. He was very excited to be out and about but eventually settled into a nap. At Eddie’s his measurements were taken and they brought out a test cart to see how his fit would be and to see how he would do. When we loaded him into the cart for the first time he shot across the room excitedly and crashed into a pile of carts in the showroom! We picked him up again and decided to continue outside where there was a little more room. One of the owners of Eddie’s, Leslie, shot this video after Robert had been in a cart for a grand total of about three minutes.
Robert got it – he REALLY got it – and he was off and running! After seeing him in the test cart Leslie brought out a another cart for him to try. Although Eddie’s had kindly offered to custom make and donate a cart for Robert if necessary, Leslie thought she might have the perfect cart in stock for Robert – Eddie’s frequently donates their customers’ used carts to rescues. This was important because if there was a cart in stock for Robert we would be able to leave with his cart that day instead of waiting for it to be made!
We loaded Robert into the cart and it seemed to fit him perfectly, so outside we went again to see how he did in this one.
Perfect. It fit him wonderfully, as if it has been created with him in mind, and he was instantly comfortable using it. He looked like he’d been born with wheels on. Leslie and her co-owner Eddie came out to take a look and tweak some of the settings on the cart to perfect it for him, and cross-bracing was added to the frame to make it nice and sturdy for his activity level, and that was it – Robert had his wheels!
By the time we arrived back at Pets Alive night was falling… but I had to get him in the cart one more time before bedtime. He was so excited about it, and so was I! I popped him in one last time and set him loose in the parking lot.
AWESOME – and as night was falling and it became too dark to take video, I discovered that Robert can walk Pets Alive’s dog walking trail through the New England woods!
Robert’s recovery still has a way to go – exactly what he’s capable of and exactly what care he will need long term still have yet to be settled and he still has some recovery he needs to get through, but I have seen such changes in him – from the dog I transported who was painful and in shock, with a look of desperation, to a dog who knew he was safe and loved and was determined to keep going to a dog that runs in his own special way with a look on his face that I can only describe as pure joy. I’ve now also had Robert around several other dogs and he seems quite social with them as well, another wonderful sign! Now that Robert has his wheels hopefully he can spend some time every day having fun, working up a good appetite and regaining and building his strength.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to Pets Alive to help Robert. Thank you to Pets Alive for saving him and giving him care and support and a place to heal and be helped. And thank you to Eddie’s Wheels for giving him his mobility back (follow them on Facebook, too!), especially owners Eddie and Leslie and employees Carole and Hana. I’m greatly looking forward to Robert continuing to recover and hopefully to get a home with a special person who appreciates him – he deserves it! He’s been through so much and his spirit never broke, and now he has once again found joy – and hopefully, soon, a home!