Breed-Specific Rescues Offer Hope

April 18, 2013 | By Paris Permenter & John Bigley via Pet360

Recently we were at a pet event in Texas with our friend Rachel Phelps from PrestonSpeaks.com when her phone rang. It was her husband Brad, back in Kentucky, calling about a rescue dog that needed help—a lot of help.

Rascal is a young West Highland White Terrier (Westie) that had been surrendered to a kill shelter with a broken hip. As active volunteers and board members of Westie Rescue Indiana, a group that rescues Westies throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, Brad and Rachel had been called to pick up the puppy and take him to the veterinarian for an emergency evaluation.

Although the couple are experienced rescuers and Westie pet parents, this little fellow needed more help than any other they've seen in the many dogs they've rescued and fostered.

"Rascal is a cute four-month-old dog whose previous owner had fallen on him twice and then delayed medical treatment due to the cost," recalls Rachel. "She was finally convinced that releasing him to a shelter was his best chance of getting the surgery he desperately needed. However, when I first met Rascal at the shelter his personality showed through. Even in all the pain he must have been in, he still wanted to be held and have his tummy rubbed."

An evaluation by their veterinarian showed that Rascal had suffered not only a broken hip but also a second break above the knee and both breaks were severe. "The x-rays were so shocking that we wondered how this dog was able to function and still remain calm and friendly while in so much pain," says Rachel. There was a question as to whether his leg could be saved.

An appointment was made for Rascal to see an orthopedic bone specialist for surgery to be performed early the next morning. The multi-hour surgery involved several bolts and screws to secure the lower break. The femoral head of the hip joint was so damaged that it had to be removed and reconstructed with the remaining cartilage. The good news, though: thanks to the hard work of the veterinarian and her staff, Rascal was able to keep his leg.

Rascal is one of the lucky ones, even though he’s facing at least three months of physical therapy. He’ll work with a canine physical therapist with water rehabilitation exercises to regain the range of motion and use of his hip and leg. As he begins to learn to walk once again, he will also be preparing for a forever home.

"By working with breed-specific rescue groups like Westie Rescue Indiana, we are able to help dogs like Rascal," says Rachel as she pets her own Westie, Preston. "Most local animal control shelters and all breed rescues cannot afford to take on these tough and expensive cases. Breed-specific rescues often have donors and fundraisers, such as our annual Westie Walk in Indianapolis every fall. This allows them to step in and provide the long-term care for a specific breed and fills a real hole in the animal rescue network."

Like other fosters that Rachel has helped, Rascal has a new chance at life. This case, though, is extra special. The Westie expert notes, “Rascal may not realize it yet since he is just a puppy, but Westie Rescue Indiana has turned his tragic situation into the start of a brand new happy life with a new loving family.”  Follow along with Rascal’s progress on the Westie Rescue Indiana’s Facebook page.

This article was originally published on partner site Pet360.com

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