Often the world is a stark place for those who rescue and adopt dogs, witnessing the highs and the lows of humankind, confronting and enduring the worst in people, but then also discovering and being inspired by the best in people.
Never has that been more true than in the continuing saga of Kenny the Doberman Pinscher.
Kenny’s story “is one of hope, determination and joining together for a common goal — saving a dog’s life and giving him back his mobility,’’ says Leslie Gallagher, founder of Two Hands Four Paws canine physical rehabilition center in Los Angeles.
Kenny was an owner surrender at 7 years old because he “wasn’t aggressive” enough. His owner felt that he hadn’t defended himself from an attack by another of the owner’s dogs. Life can be harsh for an older dog in a shelter, and Kenny then spent most of the next three years of his life in a cage.
Three years in a cage. Waiting for a home. Holding onto hope. Living his life in limbo.
Then tragedy struck. In April 2013, the founder of Doberman Rescue in Los Angeles discovered Kenny paralyzed in his kennel, apparently injured by a falling metal kennel door that struck his neck.
There wasn’t money for the estimated $8,000 it would cost for a full diagnosis of his injuries and surgery and regardless the team of veterinarians didn’t think he would ever walk again even with surgery. Kenny was a seemingly hopeless case, so a veterinarian recommended that Kenny be euthanized.
Desperate for help, Doberman Rescue reached out to Leslie Gallagher, founder of Two Hands Four Paws canine rehab, who had adopted a dog from them years before.The staff at Two Hands Four Paws worked for a month to get some functionality back into Kenny’s frozen legs, with up to four people in the pool and doing other therapy with him for 3 to 4 hours a day, with little success. Kenny had to be carried everywhere, and more threatening he was completely unable to urinate on his own, a life-threatening situation. At the end of the first month, they discovered he had cancerous tumors that needed to be removed. While recovering from surgery Kenny developed pneumonia, which landed him back in the hospital.
It was a low point. But no one wanted to let go of this loving dog who had a knack for giving big slobbery kisses to his caregivers, despite extreme pain.
Though game for therapy, Kenny would need an MRI and probably neurosurgery.
A fundraising campaign was established. That’s when word of Kenny’s plight reached the Bill Foundation, a charitable organization that has rescued more than 2,200 dogs in the Los Angeles area. “We became aware of the dog’s dire condition and in less than one day were able to raise $6,000,’’ says Annie Hart, executive director of the Bill Foundation.
Others stepped up to help. More contributions came in from around the world. In early May, Dr. Wayne Berry, a leading neurologist analyzed the MRIs and performed the surgery, repairing significant damage to Kenny’s spinal cord. Immediately, Ken’s pain diminished and his limbs regained some flexibility. A major hurdle had been crossed.
It was then back to rehab at Two Hands Four Paws. Intensive, focused rehabilitation of over 3 hours a day. Massage therapy, hydro and laser therapies, acupuncture, exercises, and more.
And it worked. Within a week of surgery Kenny took his first few steps. He soon regained his ability to urinate and defecate on his own. His strength returned. He started to try to play with other dogs. Today, Kenny is stronger than ever, now in foster care, on his way to a forever home.
“This story of Kenny is beyond miraculous and highlights new technology few dog owners realize even exist,’’ Hart says. “It’s a beautiful tribute to the wonderful collaborations happening within the dog community,’’ Hart adds. “As we say at Bill Foundation – it takes a village. And Kenny’s story is proof of just that.’’
Kenny has been miraculously transformed, is not only walking again, but he is running around like a young pup regardless of being 10 years old.
For more information about Kenny and canine physical rehabilitation center, visit www.twohandsfourpaws.com
To learn more about the Bill Foundation, their available dogs and the work they do visit www.billfoundation.org