Pet Therapy & Chronic Pain

Opie - Our Wobbly Dog

A few months ago – someone called animal control because they heard barking from a house. Animal Control came and found 3 dogs left alone in a house. 2 dogs upstairs and a 5 and half month old puppy in the basement. The puppy was very sick and┬átaken to the Veterinary Clinic. They weren’t sure if he was going to make it.

He had some sort of viral or bacterial infection that caused swelling on his brain. The swelling compressed the part of his brain that deals with balance and some motor skills. They gave him some antibiotics and an MRI. The antibiotics worked and the swelling went down. The MRI and some blood tests showed that he was going to be fine – but a combo of brain damage, abandonment, malnutrition and not enough proper exercise make him have some issues.

He has trouble getting down and up stairs. He gets dizzy when he plays too much. He can’t jump up on a couch or a bed (although some might not find this bad). He may not swim – even though he is a Flat Coated Retriever – which is a perfect water dog. He has a very funny walk – mostly a prance not a walk. His back legs are a little turned in. He walks into tables and doors. He is basically wobbly.

His Neurologist told me he may stay the same, he may get better – but we always have to watch for signs of neurological deterioration.

He is perfect.

His name is Opie and he is our new dog. A Neurological mess of a dog and owner – what could be a more perfect match? We will learn how to walk together. We will learn how to get our bodies in shape. These bodies may never be perfect; by some standards – but that doesn’t we can’t be perfect by ours.

His nature is sooooo sweet. You would never know he had ever been mistreated or sick. He is loveable, warm, playful, sweet and so affectionate. His spirit is strong.

On paper he looks like a mess. Many people would pass him up. Potential for high Vet bills. Too risky for health issues. Too much work. Why would you want a dog like that? Go to a breeder – get the papers. Blah, blah, blah. Guess what this little rescue is a Flat Coated Retriever.

You know, he is the easiest dog I have ever had. He is completely house trained. I have a thing about dogs in the dining room. It took 2 nights before he was lying on his bed during dinner – no corrections. He is good on the leash – sometimes he gets wobbly – but hey who doesn’t? My old dog pulled on the leash until he died – Rotti and Coonhound – he was a doll but strong.

I watch his walk and I smile. Despite all that he has been through he is walking!!! He has made it down the stairs after 3 days with help. I had to carry him the first few days. He is hilarious with his toys and loves to play soccer in the backyard. He runs in circles and then flops down, or sits and gets his bearings.

He is a survivor .

If I had just looked at him on paper – I would have lost having him.

Doesn’t it sound like us? I mean on paper we are scary to Physicians, family, friends etc. But our journey and what we can offer – may provide them something in their life – they never knew they needed?

I am blessed having our little Opie. I love him just the way he is. Maybe I love him more because of it.

For more information on animal rescue – check out Or look up another animal rescue.