If you are in my free Facebook group, She Finds Joy, then you’ve been watching our struggles with our dog George. As some of you know, I am a massive animal lover and dog rescuer-er. In fact, I have rescued 112 dogs in the last 20 years. But when #99, George Leroy Strobel, became a permanent family fixture, I had no idea what I was in for. If you follow me at all, you know he’s a damn mess. He’s the worst behaved dog ever. He went to discipline school for four weeks and three days and it didn’t do a bit of good back in the day.
He’s the most active, agile, hyper, mischievous dog I’ve ever had. And… I love him so much.
But things have been stressful in our dog family lately. Back on May 28th, I took George and Sophie for their morning run, but little did I know everything would change Thursday evening.
I went to Dairy Queen to get a blizzard and loaded the dogs in the back of the truck like I always do. When we got home, I put the tailgate down and both George and Sophie jumped out and took off running to the woods. Their normal routine.
When they got back inside I could immediately tell George was acting strange. Not physically, but mentally. His tail was tucked. He acted scared and he wouldn’t get up on the couch with me. Because he is a very nervous personality, this wasn’t too abnormal, yet I still noticed. That night, he walked back to the bedroom and got on his bed. He was a bit nervous, but nothing too extreme. He was also a bit unsettled throughout the night.
When we got up the next morning, his back legs were paralyzed. I was scared to death and rushed him to the vet. They thought he had a pinched nerve or some kind of back injury and did three laser treatments throughout the day. He stayed overnight and was no better Saturday morning.
At noon a couple of friends had recommended we take him to the vet hospital in Louisville where they do surgeries for this kind of thing.
We took him and they did an exam and said he doesn’t appear to have any feeling in his back legs. I was devastated. They said the only way to know exactly what is wrong would be to do a CT scan. So I told them to do one.
It came back that he had a slipped disc. They took him straight into surgery and told us he had a 50/50 chance of coming out of this and regaining his legs.
He made it out of surgery and stayed at the hospital for another two days. Then on Monday morning, they called and said he appeared to have some feeling in his back feet and was showing improvements. They also said he’s the worst-behaved dog and asked me to come pick him up thinking he’d heal better at home.
The first week was really hard. His legs weren’t working at all and I had to learn how to express his bladder. His spirit was completely gone as he was unable to do anything but lay down on his bed. It broke my heart. We did take him on wagon rides, which seemed to lift his spirit.
But, every day I was doing his physical therapy on his legs, whispering affirmations in his ear about what a great and strong dog he was, and that he was a walker and a runner. And by week two, he began to move his legs.
Every week he makes progress. He is beating the odds. He is becoming stronger. We are currently on week five and he walks a half-mile with a harness to help him stabilize his hips. The doctor thinks it’s a great possibility that he may even run again with me in six months.
Why do I tell you this story? Because I’m a dog lovin’ fool and a great dog story of perseverance and comeback gives you all the good feels, right?