Zeus, a sweet, lovable Hound mix, was rushed to North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Centers in critical condition. His back legs were suddenly paralyzed and he couldn’t take even a single step on his own.
Upon returning to their house, his owners had found the poor dog dragging his hind end and legs. He couldn’t even stand. “Zeus presented to the Pet Health Centers unable to use his back legs. Our main concern was getting him the specialty care he needed as soon as possible. With spinal injuries, treatments must be started immediately or they may not work,” stated Dr. Katarina Valen, Staff Veterinarian. “Despite this, he wagged his tail and gave out generous kisses to everyone who walked by.”
Zeus’s owners made the upsetting and difficult decision to relinquish him because they could not take care of him properly. He’d been adopted from Animal League America in 2014. We immediately assumed responsibility again so this young dog could get whatever he needed to heal properly and have a fighting chance to walk again. Five-and-a-half year old Zeus, in the company of a veterinary technician, was rushed to get an MRI. The neurosurgeon reviewed the test results and recommended immediate back surgery to correct a disc herniation and relieve compression on his spinal cord.
Zeus spent many months at our Pet Health Centers for his recovery. “After Zeus’s surgery, our amazing rehabilitation staff were happy to give him the love, support, and physical therapy he needed to get his best shot at a full recovery,” stated Dr. Valen. For the first month, he was on strict cage rest and confined to a special padded cage. No running, jumping, or playing. Physical therapy began with range of motion exercises for his rear legs. After that, he was able to take short leash walks each day with the veterinary technicians until gradually he began to be able to take a 30-minute walk. At the same time, Zeus received laser treatments to reduce inflammation as well as acupuncture treatments. Throughout this lengthy, difficult recovery, Zeus’s incredible spirit amazed everyone here and kept him going. He wanted to walk again and he was determined to do it.
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It was a happy day when the veterinarians felt that Zeus was finally ready to continue his healing in a foster care home. That’s when Michael and John came into his life. “My partner and I wanted to become foster parents to a dog,” said Michael. “I’d originally had the idea to give an animal a home during the COVID-19 pandemic. John was working from home and still is. I wasn’t working at the time due to the shutdown of the public schools.” Michael and John were looking to foster a medium-sized, older dog. Meanwhile, Animal League America’s Foster Care department, was specifically seeking a foster home for Zeus with no stairs. The match was perfect and, when they first took him home, they limited his walks. He was able to get further exercise to strengthen his legs in their backyard under their watchful eyes.
“We eventually did want to adopt a dog. I think I knew as soon as I took him home for the first time that I wanted him to be ours for good,” laughed Michael. “His personality is energetic, lovable, and very friendly. Zeus loves to play and go outside and sniff everything. He enjoys being around other people and other dogs.”
Zeus has now been officially adopted by his foster parents! He’s very bonded with both of them, but can usually be found close by Michael’s side when he’s home. “I’m very grateful that we have Zeus,” stated Michael. “I enjoy having someone to care for and I’m so pleased knowing that he’s going to be with us for a very long time — that makes me love him even more.”