I was working as a veterinary technician at an urban animal hospital when a client came in with a large male German Sheppard he’d found along a highway berm. The animal was severely injured and in pain, and an x-ray confirmed that he had a shattered pelvis, most likely from being struck by a car along the highway.
Dr. McGuire, my favorite veterinarian at the practice, handled the case. Though he tried to be optimistic, he didn’t see much hope for the dog because its hipbones were basically pulverized to the point that pinning them back together surgically was not practical. Dr. McGuire’s main concern was that, even if the dog survived, he’s be unable to walk, so he suggested that the animal be humanely euthanized. Despite the bleak assessment, I wasn’t ready to give up. I suggested that I bring the dog home and give him a few weeks to see how he healed. Dr. McGuire agreed and I brought the dog, whom I named Esocks (a reference to violinist Itzhak Perlman), home to the small ranch house.
The main challenge was Esocks’ mobility. Since he was unable to use his hind legs, we used a bath towel slung under his hips to provide support, while he walked with his front legs. Using this method, we were able to get him to and from his bed and out into the yard.
At the end of the second week, Esocks stood for the first time. He was shaky, but he was able to support himself for brief periods. At the end of the third week, I brought him back into the practice for more x-ray and a re-evaluation by Dr. McGuire. To our surprise, the x-ray showed that many of the shattered pieces of Esocks’ pelvis had migrated back together and had begun to heal, so I took him back home for more TLC.
Esocks continued to improve steadily, and by the end of the eighth week he was able to run—and by the tenth week, he was able to jump! I brought him back to the animal hospital for another evaluation, and everyone on staff was shocked to see how much he’s improved. X-rays showed that his pelvis had nearly fully healed, and he no longer seemed to be in any discomfort.
Needless to say, we adopted Esocks, and he continued to live an active healthy life for the next six years. He was a great dog, and whenever I want to show someone why you never give up on an animal, his is the story I tell.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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