Approximately 2 months ago my daughter was awakened in the middle of the night by the screaming of a hysterical puppy. Shep had tried to climb over his baby gate and somehow managed to wedge his legs between the two pieces of the gate. He then flopped over and twisted, fracturing both of his knees severely. My daughter took him to her vet who, after manipulating the legs, told her it was merely a torn ligament and gave him a shot of steroids to help with the pain. She asked him if he shouldn't x-ray the legs and the vet told her he knew what he was doing and he was sure the problem was just a torn ligament. End of story.
Shep seemed to be fine and was playing as usual. My daughter had no reason to doubt what the vet had told her. She trusted him. Then, about a month and a half later she was walking Shep down the sidewalk when he began screaming and couldn't walk. Her husband is an E-5 in the Army and she was on post. People were running out to see what he was screaming about. She was afraid they would call the MPs on her for abuse.
She rushed him to a different vet this time. This vet took x-rays of his legs. (My daughter had a garage sale to pay for the x-rays as she has no money.) He told my daughter that Shep's left leg/knee had at least 3 major fractures which had rehealed themselves. The large ball at the end of the leg bone had been completely broken off, had moved and had healed way out of line and would cripple him unless he had major surgery done to correct it. The right leg had at least 2 fractures which had also healed themselves but were not as severe. She was told that it would require at least two separate operations (to the tune of about $2000 each) in a town about 5 hours away from her to fix his knees and even then, there were no guarantees.
My daughter has always donated dog and cat food and cat litter to her local humane society. When she got this news, she asked them if she could place a donation can in their facility to help gain some help in the financial aspect of this problem. She was told that she couldn't put a can in their facility and that she should just "have him put down". He is a happy, frisky and otherwise healthy puppy, and she just couldn't listen to that.
She contacted ARNI in Florida (she lives in Ft. Stewart, Georgia) for help and financial assistance. They told her to bring him down on Thursday the 28th for them to evaluate and they would get her in touch with the vet for assistance. She played phone tag with them from approximately 5pm on Wednesday afternoon until Thursday at 8:30 am. She was told to call back around noon because the doctor had not even been consulted in this matter yet! She called back at noon as directed and was told that the vet could not do orthopaedic surgery. My daughter was heartbroken. She did not have the money to drive all the way down to Florida at the price of gas today, to be given the run around.
I have continued to try finding an orthopaedic vet nearby and managed to find a nice vet in Ormond Beach who agreed to look at him and review his x-rays and see what he could do to help. When he saw the x-rays he was very sympathetic. He told my daughter that Shep's condition was much more severe than he had anticipated, and although he was an orthopaedic surgeon, he was not able to operate on such a severe case. He said if it had just happened, and not healed so badly, he would probably have been able to do it, but that it now required a specialist. Even then, it would have required rebreaking, filing, pinning and metal plates.
He said his left leg is already shorter than the other and will continue to shrivel and become totally useless. He said he will always have pain and arthritis in the knee. We then discussed amputating the bad leg and letting the other leg take over, as it has already started to do so anyway. However, he is concerned that the fractures to the right leg will cause so much pain there that he will not be able to use it either if too much pressure is put on that leg alone. He referred us to another orthopaedic vet for a second opinion and who might be able to do the surgery, but that vet has recently had surgery himself and has cut back on his cases....another dead end.
We are desperately asking your help, either financially, medically or legally for Shep's wellfare. We cannot afford to help her and she cannot do it herself. If anyone out there has any ideas or suggestions, those would be appreciated also. She loves this puppy so much, she is not willing to put him down until every last option has been exhausted.
We have contacted ARNI, the ASPCA, local shelters, PetSmart, Animal Planet, IMOM, The Morris Foundation, several vets, and many others. They all write very sympathetic letters, but none can help. We are currently hopeful that the IMOM foundation can help, but have not been able to find a vet that will cooperate with us that is qualified to do the surgery. We are running out of ideas and time.
Anyone who offers any assistance, donations, legal or monetary help will be listed on this site with great appreciation. See bottom of this page for a list of those who have pledged help in one way or another.
We are asking your help.
Debby, Alice and little Braveheart Shep
You may contact us at:
(912) 877-5649 - home
(912) 269-9071 - cell
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO THOSE LISTED BELOW FOR THEIR GRACIOUS HELP AND SUPPORT. YOUR HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU.
1. Christine Fromel of Winter Springs, FL has offered to help pay gas costs for my daughter's future travel with Shep to vets and specialists. Christine is Oreo's mom.
2. Lauren Maslin of Lansdale, PA has pledged $25 towards Shep's medical costs. Lauren is on the waiting list for our next litter.