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FOWA Rescue: Emergency Medical Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This Emergency Medical Grant helped defray the significant costs incurred to help correct Grade-IV luxating patellas in both back legs of a rescue dog whom FOWA brought into its foster program.

By helping to defray the surgical and physical therapy costs for the specific foster dog, it freed up FOWA funds to help other pets also in need of serious veterinary care.

How many pets did this grant help?

One specific foster dog was helped by this grant during this calendar year.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, we took into our care Ryan, a 4-year-old terrier mix. We knew he had an issue with his legs. He hopped around on his back legs and sat at an odd angle with his legs extended sideways. Because of the issue, Ryan walked slowly and tired out easily.

Another rescue group was supposed to take Ryan into their care but backed out at the last minute. At the time, we did not know the extent of the impairment or what would be required to correct the issue. We just knew that we had to help this sweet dog. Another rescue group had already turned their backs on him. We were not going to do that!

Once he was settled in his foster home, we took Ryan to the vet to have the issue with his back legs examined and evaluated. Ryan was diagnosed with Grade-IV luxating patellas in both legs. The orthopedic surgeon said it was the worst case of luxating patellas he had ever seen.

The orthopedic surgeon believed that Ryan was born with impairment, that it was a birth defect and not the result of an injury. The condition severely impaired Ryan’s mobility and caused him pain. Ryan had lost significant muscle mass in his back because of his legs. And most concerning, the orthopedic surgeon advised that if left untreated and Ryan did not have surgery to correct the issue, Ryan ran a very high risk of tearing his ACL. Ryan would then be in more pain and suffer even more impairment to his mobility, possibly permanently.

So FOWA got Ryan the corrective surgery he so desperately needed on both his back legs. The first surgery was performed at the end of May. He then required a period of rest and recovery before the second surgery could be performed. The second surgery was performed in August.

During a post-op visit following the second surgery, the orthopedic surgeon strongly advised that Ryan receive physical therapy to help him regain full use of his back legs and to build back-muscle mass. So FOWA took Ryan to a vet specializing in physical rehabilitation.

Ryan underwent eight sessions of physical therapy over the course of a month. Volunteers stepped up to transport Ryan and his foster mom back and forth to the physical therapy appointments twice a week. It was truly a labor of love within FOWA. Ryan had stolen the hearts of everyone in the organization and became a symbol of FOWA at its very best.

Ryan’s much-deserved happy ending:

Shortly after completing his last session of physical therapy in October, FOWA was contacted by a woman inquiring about adopting Ryan. Since we were still awaiting the orthopedic surgeon’s final sign-off on Ryan’s recovery, we hadn’t even yet posted him for adoption on Petfinder. The woman’s husband had seen Ryan on a FOWA Facebook posting. They had been looking to adopt a terrier.

A meet-and-greet with the husband and wife was arranged in late October. It was love at first sight! They saw what everyone else did — that Ryan was the sweetest dog — and knew immediately that they wanted him to be a part of their family. Finalizing the adoption could not happen soon enough for the couple.

With the final sign-off from the orthopedic surgeon, the adoption was made official in early November. After caring for Ryan for more than eight months, his foster mom was very sad to see him go. She loved him, too! But his forever family absolutely adore Ryan and send us regular updates on how he’s doing. Fortunately for us, the couple lives locally so we can still see and visit him, as he will always hold a special place in our hearts!

Further Reading