A little puppy whose prospects were so dim right before Christmas is getting extra special care in her foster family while waiting for a new home. Bialy is a Beagle-mix that came into Chicago Animal Care and Control as a stray with little use of her back legs.
While she was at CACC, a special team was coming together to help with her rescue. Secondhand Snoots Rescue, a group that focuses on saving special needs dogs, offered to take her in. Meanwhile, Erin Kowalski, founder of the Lucida Puppy Fund and a canine massage therapist, also offered her assistance.
“I am lucky enough to work hands on everyday with dogs in need of a healing touch,” says Kowalski. “When I first saw Bialy's photo on CACC Transfer Team's Facebook page, I knew I wanted to help in some way. At the time, I still had a foster pup and told Erica from Secondhand Snoots that I would foster Bialy once my current pup was adopted but if another foster stepped up that I would offer my canine massage services to whoever took her in.”
Kowalski ended up not waiting for another foster to come forward. She couldn’t bear to leave Bialy at CACC waiting for rescue at Christmas and brought her home less than a day later. After Christmas, Bialy was checked out by a veterinarian and neurologist and it was discovered that she had a fracture of the T11/12 that was causing her weakness. She needs a lot of rest now to recover.
“She will wear a split for the next 6 to 8 weeks and her activity is severely restricted,” says Erica Brown, president of the rescue. “She will be restricted to a small enclosure or crate, room or being held. She is not allowed to climb, do stairs or walk/wiggle/scoot across large areas. The bandage and splint will be checked weekly for any sores and to see if a larger splint is needed.”
The splint is proving to be a challenge as Bialy wants so much to be a normal puppy - running around and investigating new things. They continue to do their best to keep her activity level to nothing so that she doesn't keep slipping out of the splint.
“She has a lot of spunk to her, before she was in her splint she wanted to play with anything that walked by her,” says Kowalski. “She would try to catch your pant leg as you walked by and would want to follow you around. Bialy is a fighter and a very determined little girl. You can tell that she really wants to walk. She'll look at her back legs as if to say – come on, let's go!"
The neurologist says that her reflexes are good and that is encouraging. However, it’s still too early to determine if she’ll walk. In the meantime, Kowalski is helping raise funds for her medical care through her Lucida Puppy Fund and she’s started a puppy shower online for Bialy. She is also performing massage therapy on the puppy at least two hours a day.
“We are working on getting her used to standing by doing isometric exercises and I am always correcting her body mechanics to be in proper alignment,” says Kowalski. “The vet said that Bialy was one lucky pup to be in the care of an experienced massage therapist. The neurologist said that it is crucial that she receive the daily therapy not only to help with the current muscle tension and overcompensation but to also improve her chances of walking again.”
Kowalski is working with Bialy over two hours a day. That work also includes passive range of motion in her hind legs to help prevent weak muscles and stiffness from non-use. She also is working on Bialy’s front legs with advanced trigger point therapy to alleviate the extreme compensation due to her inability to use her hind legs.
New Year’s eve, Bialy did give Kowalski a scare when she became ill. It turned out to be an upper respiratory infection that hasn’t progressed to anything more serious. Bialy is keeping everyone up to date in her daily blog.
Lucida Puppy Fund
Kowalski founded the Lucida Puppy Fund in 2010 to honor four puppies that died of Parvo after they were rescued from animal control. Another sibling rescued earlier never came down with parvo. The goal of the fund is to help rescues pull puppies, who are vulnerable to illness due to their weak immune systems, before they become sick.
You can help Bialy by donating to her chip-in, to the Lucida Puppy Fund, the Puppy Shower or either of her veterinary hospitals – Roscoe Village Animal Hospital and the Chicago Veterinary Specialty Group. Reference Secondhand Snoots account for Bialy if you donate to either hospital. Learn more about Secondhand Snoots Rescue online and follow them on Facebook. Check out the work of the Lucida Puppy Fund online and on Facebook as well.
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