A US Postal worker’s discovery of a small, injured dog found on the side of the road, that doctors thought was paralyzed and would never walk again, is only the beginning of a remarkable story about an incredible rescue, the compassion of volunteers, and quite simply, one with a good ending. (Keep reading – heartwarming video below.)
When Skippy was discovered in Claymont by Laura Domnick on July 26th, he could not use his back legs, one eye was closed shut, his fur was matted, and he was covered in fleas.
“It was 5:30 in the morning on Lea Boulevard. I was driving and noticed something and wondered what it was. I knelt down and touched him and he didn’t really move. I couldn’t believe it was alive,” said Domnick.
Domnick, who is also a lifetime Faithful Friends Animal Society (FFAS) volunteer, wrapped the tiny dog in a towel, put him a crate that she carries in her car, and transported him to the Faithful Friends’ shelter on Germay Drive, hoping caregivers could save his life.
“The only thing he was doing was blinking, really,” says Nicole Cunningham, who works at Faithful Friends and is now one of Skippy’s loving foster parents.
The doctor at Faithful Friends determined Skippy needed pain medication and should be transferred to a full-service veterinary hospital for further evaluation and radiographs. After additional diagnostics, the veterinarian determined Skippy was blind, had an enlarged heart, and a possible spinal injury.
Diagnosed as paralyzed, Skippy was directed toward hospice
Doctors weren’t optimistic about his condition. “The vet said he was paralyzed and would never be able to walk again,” said Cunningham. “They suggested we find a hospice and live out the time he had left.”
The eight-pound pup was treated, bathed, groomed and placed on antibiotics and pain medication to aid his condition. The road ahead for Skippy would be difficult.
When the dog was healthy enough for his foster parents to bring home, Skippy did try to walk on his own. But he could only use his two front paws. “It was really sad,” said Cunningham. But after several days of love and care, his personality started to shine.
Ashley Weicker is also one of Skippy’s foster parents, and she has been giving the dog his daily dose of medicine, helping him exercise and photographing his journey to recovery.
She and Cunningham remembered that a generous supporter of Faithful Friends donated a small wheelchair for dogs about a year ago. So, they strapped Skippy into the wheelchair to help him get around, and his reaction was priceless. The video of his recovery shows a happy pup zipping around in the driveway, enjoying his newfound freedom using the tiny wheelchair.
Cunningham and Weicker also give Skippy daily massages and provide water therapy in a backyard pool. And after three to four days with his foster family, Skippy was bearing weight on his back legs. Amazingly he no longer needed his wheelchair.
“First he started using his back-left paw, and we were really surprised. And the next day he started using his other leg. His legs aren’t sturdy – his back legs will often give out or tilt from side to side. But he can feel them, and that’s just amazing,” said Cunningham. Now Skippy is running around and getting stronger every day.
Domnick says she feels fortunate that she was able to help a dog in distress who is now enjoying life. “I am always looking for animals. Right place, right time,” she said.
The vet thinks Skippy is a Pomeranian mix and is about eight years old. Cunningham and Weicker say that he is “very playful, very sweet.” They say he loves other animals and is good with kids, and they hope a loving family will come forth to adopt Skippy.
Homeless man donates 1/2 of all funds raised for Skippy
Rescue dogs like Skippy require special care. So Faithful Friends set up a fundraising campaign to raise the $1,500 to cover those expenses. Incredibly, a homeless man named Owen (who agreed to share his name) heard about Skippy’s plight last week and visited Faithful Friends not once, but twice to make donations totaling $1,050. Executive Director Jan Pierantozzi says unusual cases like this often prompt people to give from their heart.
As of Friday, the nonprofit had raised over $2,000, and any additional gifts will be directed to help dogs and cats with urgent and special medical conditions like Skippy’s. Donations to their Healing Touch Fund can be made at faithfulfriends.us.