Paralyzed and Homeless Little Dog


Gordo the Shih Tzu was surrendered to Manhattan Animal Care and Control by his owner after it was learned the young Shih Tzu needed expensive spinal surgery.

Unable to use his back legs or urinate on his own, Gordo sat in a cage at the city shelter for days with a full bladder. He was scheduled to be euthanized when the founder of an animal rescue group in nearby New Jersey pulled him to safety in the nick of time.

Robyn Urman of Pet ResQ Inc. is very familiar with the depressing fate of  homeless pets that end up in the five shelters operated by New York City. Approximately 30,000 are euthanized each year.

When a dog like Gordo comes into the system, it is even more unlikely he will be rescued due to the enormous cost for medical care.

Urman, who believes every dog or cat deserves a second chance, knew she had to act fast to save Gordo’s life. With her help Gordo was transferred to a New Jersey veterinary hospital.

The veterinarian who evaluated him gave “little hope that he would ever stand, walk or even go to the bathroom on his own.”

The suggestion was to buy a wheelchair for the 1 ½ year-old dog and forget about further treatment.
Urman and the volunteers at Pet ResQ Inc. wouldn’t give up hope and the next day Gordo saw a neurologist at the Animal Specialty Center.

An MRI showed he had a ruptured disk and severe bruising on his spine, but the veterinarians believed he had feeling in his legs and offered hope for a recovery. They also expressed concern that the little dog was in severe pain.

Surgery was scheduled for the next day, but Gordo came down with a high fever and kennel cough. Instead of a lifesaving surgery, Gordo was attached to IV fluids to keep him alive. Miraculously the fever broke and veterinarians performed the surgery on July 26.
After four days of recovery, Gordo was released to River Pet Resort in Edgewater, NJ where he has been receiving physical therapy, electro-stimulation and water therapy to regain the use of his legs.

Thanks to the therapy and extra help from volunteer Karen Colangelo who’s been caring for Gordo each night in her home during the past three weeks, the little dog is showing significant signs of improvement. 
He can wag his tail and go to the bathroom on his own. Every day he is putting more weight on his hind legs.“Gordo walks most of the time with the help of a sling,” said Colangelo. “But you should see him scoot around on the floor when he wants to travel on his own. Gordo is really quite a determined character and has the sweetest temperament.”

“We expect Gordo will be in rehab for 3 to 6 months. We are looking for a foster home that will be able to take care of him during that time and help him with his physical therapy at night.

In addition to the more than $6,000 for Gordo’s surgery, Pet ResQ Inc. estimates rehab will run another $4,000 to $5,000.

Community businesses and individuals have rallied around the little dog. The Mayors Alliance for New York City’s Animals made a contribution. Altogether close to $4,000 has been collected.

Pet ResQ Inc. is building a network to see that Gordo gets all the care and love he deserves and a permanent home when he is ready. 
Thanks to Sharon Seltzer for sharing this story.


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