Paraplegic pup overcomes adversity with elevator, new wheels in Nanaimo
NANAIMO -- Oliver is the sort of pooch who always realizes his potential to play.
“He’s a very, very active dog,” his owner Terre says. “Definitely into all that could happen on a walk.”
When Oliver wasn’t chasing balls, or catching Frisbees, he was racing with his posse of pups.
“When Oliver first started he was a bit of a rambunctious player,” says Kim, the owner of Pooch Pack Adventures.
But the golden-doodle learned the rules quickly and contributed to group exuberantly.
“He became a very good member of the crew,” Kim smiles.
Oliver’s whole life was going very good, until it suddenly went very bad.
“We went to bed and when we woke up in the morning he couldn’t walk,” Terre says.
During emergency surgery the doctor discovered that calcification in his back, caused by an old injury, had broken off and cut into Oliver’s spine.
“It’s not hopeful that he’ll ever walk again,” Terre says, showing how the dog can’t move the back end of his body.
Instead of euthanizing their paraplegic pup, Terre and her partner started making life more accessible for him, and installed an elevator for Oliver.
“We call it The Olivator!” Terre smiles, before showing a picture of her partner and their pups riding up to the second floor in their home. “Everybody goes to bed and then we bring them down in the morning.”
But a year after the surgery nothing seemed to revive Oliver’s interest in fetching.
“I thought that was kind of sad that he wouldn’t be chasing balls anymore,” Terre says.
So they tried supporting his functional front legs with durable back wheels.
“He took to them right away!” Terre says before throwing a ball and watching Oliver race in his wheelchair to fetch it.
Terre sent a video of Olivers triumphant return to ball-catching to Kim.
“I was ecstatic!” Kim recalls. “It literally brought tears to my eyes.”
So Kim invited Oliver to return to the Pooch Pack for free, so he could be with his friends again.
“It’s was like nothing had been different for him,” Kim smiles. “It was amazing!”
No matter how rocky the trail, no matter how steep the incline, nothing stopped Oliver and his wheels from moving forward.
“He’s happy. His quality of life’s great,” Terre smiles, before throwing him another ball. “And that’s all we care about it.”
Especially when he joyfully returns with his ball in his mouth and hits his ear-flapping top speed — Oliver’s tail appears to start wagging again.