It had been almost 10 years since I first met the fragile, old, blind lady with a cane, who had become pretty helpless over the years. She used to tell me how her son got shot, which finally truly broke her. Maybe it was then, she decided she didn’t want to see what was happening in the world anymore or maybe it was some other medical issue that made her legally blind, I never asked. It was that long ago, when she first brought Tex to me after he got hit by a car and looked like nothing (and no one) would be able to save him. His pelvis was broken in several locations and surgery was out of question, he also suffered some internal trauma. She told me we couldn’t let him die, she couldn’t handle losing another loved one and we did all we could to keep him alive and to our surprise he lived, as if he knew she needed him. Tex was a mess, he was always covered in matted hair and like a mop picked up everything that would get entangled in his hair and carried it around like trophies he collected. Over the years we helped her take care of him, shearing him when needed, trimming his nails and vaccinating him, often with the help of Animal Control or the animal shelter.

Did you ever wonder if dogs have nine lives like cats? Well Tex was determined to figure it out. On one of those days Animal Control brought him in, after he had gotten attacked by another much larger dog and was unable to stand up, blood filling his left eye from the trauma. When he came in this time, he was in so much pain, he screamed if one of us just got near him, thinking about picking him up. His front legs were completely paralyzed and folded underneath him, as if they weren’t meant to stand on. The other dog grabbed him by his neck, causing serious spinal trauma to his cervical spine and his chances of ever walking again were beyond slim. He had a lack of pain perception of both front paws, leaving him helplessly crying. Talking to the owner on the phone it became clear that we needed to try everything to save him, but I made it very clear that we would need a real miracle at this point. Almost 2 weeks went by, with no improvement. Radiographs showed a significant malalignment of his cervical spine, accounting for his paralysis. We had tried everything from pain medications and anti-inflammatories to cold laser therapy and all kinds of rehabilitation unsuccessfully. He continued to be in discomfort, despite all our efforts and it was breaking our hearts, seeing him lying in his cage, whimpering when he tried to move.

It was time to talk to my old friend and explain to her that we had given it enough time and it was time to let him go in dignity. I spoke to Animal Control, who was going to help me, make this very clear to her and we agreed on being as straightforward as possible, about how we needed to end his suffering. When Josh from Animal Control brought her into the exam room, my heart sank. The already fragile older lady was now a helpless, blind, tiny woman in a wheelchair, searching for my voice as she heard the door open. I realized I hadn’t seen her in person in a few years and had no idea how much she had aged. I had asked Josh to bring herTex and let her hold him as I was giving her the sad update. He laid in her lap happily for the first time in weeks. “It doesn’t look like Tex will ever be able to walk again” I heard myself say, as if from a distance. She said “can’t you get him a scooter?”. I wish it was that easy, front leg paralysis is not a “scooter fix” and “how are you going to take care of him, when he can’t even reach his food or water?” I asked, making it clear that his quality of life was in jeopardy. Josh tried to help and told her “you don’t want him to soil all over himself and lose all his dignity, do you?”, but nothing seemed to truly convince her that it was time for Tex. Yet we also agreed we didn’t want him to suffer. It broke my heart to know, I was taking everything she had left. She told me she would want to take him home, even if we decided to put him down and I assured her we would make sure she would get his ashes, since she had no way of burying him. She then asked me if we could try one more time, to see if there is any improvement and reluctantly, we agreed to give him one more chance. We placed a towel on the floor and placed Tex in the middle of it, as he immediately collapsed and while he seemed to give up for a second, our fragile old, blind lady started chanting while staring off into the distance “God please…please help Tex, please help him walk, Jesus, I beg you, help him find strength” and as Josh and I looked at each other in disbelief, Tex stood up for the first time since the incident and walked 4 full steps toward her. There was no way we just witnessed this and of course she couldn’t see the miracle she created. I told her I needed to speak with Josh before making any decisions and you could see her face lighten in hope, knowing by my voice that a miracle must have happened. I asked Josh to give me one more week to work with him, one more week to see if we could get him fully on his feet, after all it seemed that God was on our side at this point. I told her that we would give it one more week of trying, but that she needed to promise me, she would trust my decision after this week, no matter what it would be and she agreed. We decided to ask Dr. Brechtel, who willingly offered his services in the past, to do some acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments to help get Tex on his feet and lore and behold we now had some progress every day. We sheared Tex and gave him a bath which he direly needed. Another week later, Tex was not only walking, but skipping along happily and his pain had resolved. It was time to send him home to his happy owner. It was Josh who got to reunite the two and capture all her excitement as she held Tex, who had proven to have nine lives after all, in her arms. Her face of excitement will be deeply engraved in my heart forever. Some miracles are truly heavenly.

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