Did you ever wonder what our rescued dogs think? Well, one particularly social foster, Fredd ( yes, Fredd with two ds, because he was special) tells his tale of a long recovery and a happy ending.
Fredd came to rescue in Northern Illinois from a rural shelter downstate. When he arrived, he was a little weak in the hindquarters. We all thought that was because he had been living on a cold concrete floor. But as his condition quickly deteriorated, we took him to a specialist, who ran tests and an MRI. The specialist announced that our beautiful boy Fredd had been the victim of abuse- kicked in the spine with a heavy boot multiple times, until he suffered spiral fractures that were rendering him almost paralyzed. Fredd went through two surgeries and a recurrent infection that nestled deep within his spinal cord and refused to go away. It was a long haul , and Fredd wants to tell you his story as it unfolded. But psssst- there's a happy ending!
January, year 1: Hi, it’s Fredd! Happy New Year! This new year started off with a bang- I was walking, and I followed foster mom and my brothers and sisters all over the house and yard. I was gaining muscle and I have to say, I was looking pretty buff! And I’m a buff cocker spaniel! Hah!
But only a few days into the new year something happened. Did you ever feel like you just couldn’t catch a break? Well, I understand. It seemed that as soon as I was getting the hang of walking again, my back started to hurt. On Friday of the New Year I went for a walk around the neighborhood and was feeling OK, happy to see people and smell new smells. Then the next morning I woke up and couldn’t move. I’d been though this before. Not good.
Yep, I was paralyzed again. So back to the doctor I went, who said the bad infection that had been in my back had returned. I really thought we had gotten rid of it with those seven weeks of pills! But apparently it was a strong little germ and it liked my spine, so back it came. Stronger than ever. Like a Terminator movie.
So now I am on really strong pills and I don’t feel good. My tummy is upset and the doctor says I may be on pills for the rest of my life. She also told mom some stuff I won’t repeat here, but it made everyone very sad.
So here is the good news! My rescue group, Young at Heart, made me a “sanctuary dog”, which means I get to stay here in my foster house with my foster brothers and sisters for the rest of my life! They will take care of me and I will give them kisses and be my usual sweet self (except when I really hurt. Then they forgive me the occasional growl).. I’ll even share my squeaky toys with them.
I hope to be here a long time, and I will write you often and let you know how I am. Thanks and remember, when life hands you lemons, just squeak your squeaky toy!
February, year 1: Hi Everybody! It’s Fredd! Guess what I did yesterday? I scratched my ear with my rear leg! Like a real dog! Now you may think that is a “so what” kind of thing, but for me it was a real victory! I haven’t been able to do that for as long as my foster family has known me. It’s a really big deal!
I am feeling better and walk all over the place now. I have a very wobbly gait, and my rear legs and hips swing out all over the place. I tell foster mom I am doing my Elvis imitation. Thank you very much.
I am still on the pills for the bad infection in my back and will be on them for a long time. We tried going off them and that’s when all the trouble started again, so my great vet says
I will stay on them for a while longer. Foster mom is pushing for forever. She doesn’t like it when I hurt- neither do I !
So if I keep doing well I may get to visit you all at our next adoptathon. Come on out and see me and my other friends who are looking for great new homes, like yours! And thanks again for helping pay my vet bills by sponsoring me. I appreciate it!. As Elvis would say- “thank you very much!”
Update, March, year 1: Hi, it’s Fredd! Happy Spring! Now that spring is here I am trying to get into shape and so I have taken up yoga. I almost have this “downward dog” thing down ! Now never in my recent life would I have been able to bend my back and have my front down and my rear up in the air- but now I almost can! I am feeling really good now. Still on the pills for the infection in my back, but I am mostly off the pain pills. Good, because there are just so many pills I can be expected to swallow in one day!
I walk all the time- I rarely stop- maybe I am afraid that this is all a dream and if I stop I won’t be able to start again. I play ball in the back yard with my dorky sister Daphne the cocker spaniel- foster mom throws the ball and we all run after it. I mostly bunny hop and with my twisted back it looks as if different halves of me are going in different directions, but I get there! A few times I have even gotten to the ball first and then, boy, do I show it off! I carry that ball all over the yard and I hold it up high for every dog to see. Look at me, dogs! Fredd is back!
And thank you for helping me get back! I won't be "out of the woods" for a very long time so I really appreciate your continued support. I hope to see you all very soon! Love, Fredd!
update October , year 1 : Hi, everybody! It’s me, Fredd! Your favorite TV star. Yes, it’s true that I have been on WGN TV’s midday news TWICE now. They can’t resist me. But I don’t let it go to my head. I am just glad to be there to represent for all the other dogs who need rescue.. And I am glad that now I can walk, almost run, from my dressing room to the studio! Only six months ago, on my first TV appearance, I had to be carried to the studio. This past week I ran ( well, bunny hopped) after my foster sister Bear as she trotted to the studio. Well, I didn’t want her stealing my face time!
I am feeling great. This has been a great summer- enjoying walks, sun baths, and lots of snuggles with my foster family. I still have to take pills and get some daily therapy ( specific exercises for my problem areas). But we all have problem areas as we get older!
I am so grateful to all of you who have sent me good thoughts toward my recovery. I will be working at things for the rest of my life, so I thank you all in advance for your continued support. As the spine issue is getting better, some other “old age” type issues are appearing, but I just keep putting one paw in front of the other. Keep reading my sanctuary updates- we can all grow old together!
Update, year 4! Yes, year 4! Hi, it's me, Fredd! Well, the dog that wasn't supposed to make it past a few months has now been here four years! I am proof positive that love and support, and lots of caring fans, can work wonders. I've spent the last four years training all the new foster dogs that come into my foster home. They come in the door, scared and not sure what this is all about, and I take them under my wing. I teach them house rules, and all about living in a family, and mostly tell them in our secret doggie language that they are safe now. I watch them go off to their forever homes and I am happy for them. Then another dog walks through the door, and the cycle starts all over. I am really good at training these new guys. It's good to have a purpose in life!
My story is a long one, and there is more to write- but the important thing I would like you to take away from this is that sometimes the dogs that you might think are a lost cause turn out to be the best. Just like people, we all deserve a chance! And we will love you forever. Maybe you might like to help? Contact your local rescue- there are so many- and ask what needs doing. Thanks, and woofs and hugs from me, Fredd!