We all have an idea of our perfect pet. It may be a particular breed, a desired gender, or have a
personality that fits our lifestyle. Some prefer a young animal that they can train, while others
want to skip the housetraining and choose to adopt an older animal. Animals with imperfections
are often looked over. They may have behavior issues or some other less desirable physical
trait. We can judge books by their covers even though we should know better. Throughout my
time spent at Hillside Animal Hospital I have seen a variety of animals selected by owners for
many different reasons. Some carefully selected after researching the animal and visiting with
them. Others seem to be simply selected by fate and fate is what leads me to talk about two of
our newest and unique patients at the clinic.
It was a typical day at the clinic. Surgeries had finished up and patients were being cared for as
they recovered. Appointments were moving along smoothly and everything was routine. Of
course routine, often involves a new rescue from Gateway Pet Guardians. The rescue
organization, along with others that we work with, will often go out and find strays that are
living on the streets. On this day they came across a litter of puppies in an abandoned house.
Upon entering the house all of the puppies scattered and ran away. All of them except for two
small puppies. These puppies would have loved to run away I'm sure, but unfortunately they
could not move fast enough. This was because they couldn't fully control their back legs. Not
knowing what had caused this, they were scooped up and taken to Hillside to assess why they
couldn't use their legs. Upon examination we realized that the puppies weren't injured,but most
likely had a congenital defect that caused them to drag their back legs. One puppy's joints
seemed to be stiff and bent in the wrong direction. We had to seriously question their quality of
life. Would it be fair for them to live a life partially paralyzed? Who would care for them as they
grew and what hardships would they face? Thankfully, they had champions on their side.
Melissa, another R.V.T and my wife, devised a plan to help the puppies out. She spoke with
Lindsay, a Veterinary Assistant at the clinic and the founder of The Feral Companion, about the
puppies. Lindsay had access to some of the resources that the puppies may need such as carts
for when they were bigger and had a special division of her rescue for special needs animals.
She also had one other critical thing that all rescue organizations need, a willing foster for the
pups. Those fosters of course, were Melissa and me. Since many rescue organizations work
together to accomplish the amazing things that they do, Gateway agreed to transfer the puppies
to The Feral Companion.
Now that the puppies were in our care, our minds were frantic with ideas for rehabilitating them
and building/obtaining their carts. They were named Thor and Loki because we needed strong
names to start their new lives out on a firm foundation. The names suited them well. Thor is the
bigger of the two and would always rush in to greet you or to play, even if his legs wouldn't fully
allow him. Loki is smaller in stature and is more relaxed (low-key, if you will). He also has a
knack for inching close to you to give you a few kisses before nibbling on your nose. Melissa
went to work and constructed two carts out of PVC pipe, padding, wheels, and duct tape. The
boys now had a way to get around faster. This fun project and their story even made it on the
local news! We were nervous what their new lives might bring. We estimated that their total
lifetime vet care could be close to $10,000. This planned for routine vet care, such as annual
wellness visits throughout their lives and their neuters. It also covered their carts and potential
surgeries and care for their legs. These two would not only require fundraising, but a very
understanding home when they were adopted. They have flaws that not everyone is able to
accept. All of this being said,today they have much sturdier carts and Loki has found his new
home. His name is now Dash, after the little speedster from The Incredibles. His new parents
have found their "Perfect Pet" in this lovable and energetic puppy. His new parents even work at
an animal hospital! Melissa and I adopted Dash a few weeks after first taking him and Thor
home to foster. He travels with us every day to the clinic and can see his brother, Thor on most
days. Thor is still looking for his forever home and I know that he will find it.Why, you ask?
Because him and Dash are both the "Perfect Pet".