A Handicapped Dog

May 4, 2010
By , Houston, TX
My uncle and aunt have a handicapped dog. Flaco is a black lab mix that my aunt rescued from the streets of Mexico when he was young. He was hungry and skinny when she got him, but he grew into a big, healthy dog who loved to run, swim and chase sticks. When he was about ten, he started limping and it turned out he had a tumor in his hip. They took him to a veterinary college, and the vets operated on him to remove the tumor, but he lost the use of his back legs.
You don’t see handicapped dogs very often, because many people have their pets “put to sleep,” or euthanized, if they become unable to live like normal dogs. My aunt and uncle don’t have any kids, just Flaco. They could see that he was still the same happy dog and they didn’t want to him to die just because he couldn’t walk. They were sure that he could still have a good life and they were able to spend time and money to help him. They took him to physical therapy at the veterinary college so he could get strong again.
It turns out that there are wheelchairs specially made for dogs. Flaco got a wheelchair that held up his back legs and he could pull himself by walking with his front legs. He loved to go for long walks just like all dogs do. When my aunt would drive him to go walking by the river in Austin, he would get excited when the car pulled into the park. My grandmother had a stroke around the same time that Flaco became handicapped, and she had to learn how to walk again too. She was supposed to walk for an hour each day, but she was not as eager to walk as Flaco. Our family would try to encourage her to go out and walk by pointing out how Flaco still went for long walks, even though he could only use half his legs and he had to work hard.
Flaco’s favorite thing to do after he became handicapped was to swim. Our family goes to a lake in Minnesota every summer. Flaco had always loved chasing sticks out in the lake. After he became handicapped, he had a dog lifejacket to help him float, and he could swim using his front legs. He would move his back legs in the water too, which helped keep the back legs healthy. He loved the way he could still move through the water, and chases a stick way out deep and bring it back, just the same as when he had all four legs working.
Never give up, you should always try as hard as you can for as long as you can. Flaco has been a big insperation to me, as well as my family. He makes me work hard, and shows me I should never give up.





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big dog said...
May 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm
What a wonderful story about a wonderful dog.  I know this dog named Flaco, and the author is right on in terms of his descriptions and feelings.  Well done!
 
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