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Penelope, French Bulldog

PenelopeMeet Penelope.

Penelope is a four-year-old French Bulldog with a very sad story…

According to her owners, Penelope was injured three weeks ago playing with another dog in the home. The owners reported they didn’t see the injury; only that she appeared to have a sore back, and then the next morning…she couldn’t use her back legs at all.

Penelope went untreated for three weeks until her owners decided to abandon her at the Humane Society and request she be put down.

We can’t imagine….21 long days went by watching this poor dog unable to use her back legs…21 long days in which she could have been taken to a vet and possibly spared permanent disability.

Unlike many of our dogs, we do know a bit about Penelope’s former situation and it only makes her story even more heartbreaking; the place she is from is reported to be a backyard breeder and Penelope is even AKC registered!

We don’t know at this point what the extent of Penelope’s injuries are or if she can ever regain function of her back legs.

What we DO know is that we want to give Penelope the care she deserves…the care she was not provided by her former owners three weeks ago. She will be transported to our partner vet in Phoenix for x-rays and then into foster care.

Please help us help Penelope by donating to her medical care chip-in fund via PayPal. We will keep everyone updated on Penelope’s condition as we know more.

Medical Update, Nov. 17th: The preliminary x-rays show some questions about a few vertebrae and our amazing partner vet at Bethany Animal Hospital is considering who to refer Penelope to next. The vets believe the paralysis is being caused by a fracture. It’s still too soon to know if her disability can be mended, but she does have some “rear end” function which is good news. Penelope will be safe in a wonderful foster home while we learn more about her condition and we will keep everyone updated!

¬†Penelope’s Updates:

Penelope is WALKING! The belief is that Penelope has a genetic malformation in the spine and she sustained an injury of some sort causing inflammation, nerve compression and temporary paralysis. The prognosis for now is good but we have a LOT of work to do with physical therapy. Read below for a detailed explanation of the plan of care for Penelope!

Penelope, Aug. 21stUpdate on Penelope from her foster mom, Aug. 21st: Penelope has had a set back – rear leg weakness, pain in spine and hips, incontinence. We went to the vet last week and Dr. Katie believes it is a recurrences of inflammation due to the genetic malformation of the spine and will be something that will likely need to be intermittently treated throughout her life. She received a steroid shot in the office, laser treatments, is on a course of steroids and pain meds, and is on crate rest. I am monitoring closely for a UTI – another long term issue she will have. She is doing much better today! Much more comfortable and much less sad. She is bearing weight with slow, controlled activity. Kelly ordered diapers for her and new suspenders and diaper covers are on their way! She is just as loveable as always.

Update on Penelope, March 4th from her foster family: Penelope is amazing and has a wonderful personality! She continues to get stronger every day and continues to walk and now RUN! She can still be a bit uncoordinated but she recovers well and it just adds to her personality. We are working on her social skills as she barks at everyone, furry and not. No aggression really (she is not so keen on men but LOVES kids), just a talker. We are still doing laser at the vet (she loves her visits to see Dr. Katie Andre and the crew) and home PT per Dr. Jarvis. We just adore this silly girl!

penelope!Update on Penelope, Jan. 1st from Penelope’s foster mom: Penelope is doing great! She has not used the wheelchair since our first visit to Dr. Jarvis and she is definitely getting stronger. We will continue the laser treatments two to three times per week, her daily physical therapy exercises and walks, massage, and supplements. Her bladder control has improved. A walking routine does help minimize the number of accidents. She LOVES her walks! She gets so excited and can barely sit still to have her leash put on! We still have to put the brakes on a bit because she wants to GO! And when I say GO, I mean RUN! And then she loses control of her caboose, her rear feet cross, she loses balance, and her foot drop/drag is much more pronounced. Thankfully with the donations from our supporters, Penelope gets two pairs of boots! The first pair are more for protection but unfortunately she doesn’t have the strength and muscle control yet to keep her toes in a flexed position so they actually make things worse right now. She has been measured for her therapeutic boots which will keep her toes in the flexed position. Dr. Jarvis has placed that order so we are anxiously awaiting their arrival. This sweet girl is such a love-bug, but we have found that she does not like men! She loves her foster dad and any child she meets, but she is selective towards women and reactive towards men. We will keep working on socializing and I think she will be just fine. She adores my boys so I’m sure its just a matter of getting comfortable and gaining trust. She does need to learn some manners in public. She barks at everyone she meets on her walk – human and canine. But she is completely content with us and her pack – including the cat. I think she will be just fine as she gets more comfortable with the unknown. Her quirky personality is a delight!

Penelope and a palFrom Penelope’s foster mom, Dec. 3rd: Penelope and I had an amazing two hour session with Dr. Jarvis. We are both exhausted – her physically and me mentally (information overload)! The biggest news of the day…NO WHEELCHAIR! That’s right! So let me start from the beginning. Over the holiday weekend, Penelope started walking even more! On Friday we took a very slow and deliberate walk to her favorite fire hydrant on the corner – approximately 20 yards – and back, TWICE! She walked on all fours the whole time. She was wobbly but only stumbled three or four times when she would bark or get too excited. We’ve continued to do this at least once a day. She is standing and walking more than she is sitting and scooting!

Penelope at Dr. Jarvis'Dr. Jarvis was amazing! She did a complete assessment and showed me everything I can do at home to rehab Penelope – and there is a lot to do! The belief at this point is that there is a genetic malformation in the spine (common in this breed) and she sustained an injury of some sort causing inflammation and nerve compression. The prognosis is good although there is no way to know if she will recover 100% or if she will have recurrent episodes. So for now, since she is walking, she wants to keep moving in that direction (literally) and avoid the wheelchair. We will focus on tactile and thermal stimulation, vibration, constant repositioning of abnormal positioning, slow/deliberate walks, diet, and supplements. She received all of this as well as treatment and assessment on a magnetic bed and laser therapy to the spine. We may be able to continue the laser treatment every two to three days as Dr. Jarvis showed me how to do it and we may have a laser available to us. Right now, as far as equipment goes, there are a couple NEEDS that I am looking into. Boots are a definite but the ones recommended are $120 EACH. These boots not only protect and provide needed traction but also pull the toes upward to prevent her dragging her toes. The cost is NOT rescue friendly and with her progress thus far, may be only needed for a short time. Dr. Jarvis and I discussed an alternative and I am looking into that – more in the $25 per boot range – and she can use those for the long term. She is still hit and miss in the bowel and bladder department but with the green light on walking, there will be a better schedule set and I think she will do fine with routine. She does wear diapers at certain times but I keep her out of them the majority and she gets baths about every other day, if not daily. Warm water therapy is on the list too! Supplements are Omega 3 Fatty Acid from a fish source, Neurotrophin PMG twice a day for nervous system repair, and probiotics. Penelope did amazing and she was so tired afterwards, she has been sleeping off and on since we got home. Mini therapy sessions will be frequent throughout the day in 10 -15 min sessions due to her tiring easily. There is a lot of work to be done but the Douglas Crew is committed to this girl!

PenelopeUpdate on Penelope, Nov. 26th: This is one tricky case! Our wonderful vet at Bethany Animal Hospital has been working very hard consulting with multiple specialists. Penelope certainly has some abnormalities on her x-rays. At this point we have decided to set up an appointment with a physical therapist to see how we can best help Penelope. For now, she feels deep pain stimuli and is not retaining urine- both good signs! Rest assured, Penelope is being SPOILED in her foster home…she is getting around great with her set of wheels and her amazing foster family is building a ramp for her. Stay tuned!

¬†From Penelope’s foster family, Nov. 18th: Penelope is fitting in just fine with this crazy crew – all 9 fur babies have been introduced and are peacefully coexisting! Pen is a sweetheart. She has quite the personality! Steve is putting the final touches on a new ramp so that she can wheel or scoot herself out to the backyard. She gets very excited when the wheel chair or leash comes out. Penelope spent quite a bit of time outside today and on walks, so now she is resting contently at my feet. Thank you MAIN for bringing this little lady into our lives! It is unfathomable to me that her previous owners could not see that Penelope is worth so much more than they were willing to give.

Medical Update, Nov. 17th: The preliminary x-rays show some questions about a few vertebrae and our amazing partner vet at Bethany Animal Hospital is considering who to refer Penelope to next. The vets believe the paralysis is being caused by a fracture. It’s still too soon to know if her disability can be mended, but she does have some “rear end” function which is good news.

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