Hello, dear readers. Today I want to make a plea for a special dog and a special rescue.
This is Ryker. He's a 3 year old male German Shepherd.
Ryker came to live on a farm at 10 weeks of age. He was a model puppy in some ways - learned to potty outside with very few mistakes, rode in the car without trouble from the first day, and happily bounced around his owners' feet every day on the long trek to the mailbox. In other ways he was a little mischevious - he liked to tease the goats, and the coffee table and rocking chair still bear the marks of his teeth.
At about a year old, he was a healthy, beautiful boy, his owners' pride and joy.
Soon after that, things started to go wrong. Ryker started having loose stools and was unable to wait to go outside to potty. He started losing weight at an alarming rate. His owners watched him waste away to almost nothing, and cried every day looking at him, fearing each day might be his last.
Ryker's pancreas had stopped making enzymes, which meant he was unable to digest his food. Through the help of of a wonderful website, epi4dogs.com, he got the help he needed and returned to health. It wasn't easy, his diet had to be changed several times and his medicines adjusted until the balance was finally right, but finally he started gaining weight, and over the course of a year became the fine boy in the first photo.
That wasn't the end of Ryker's troubles, and his owner's heartbreak though. We all know how fragile the economy is, and what these troubled times have meant to many families. While Ryker was in good health, he needed to be monitored by a vet, eat grain free food, and continue on his enzymes, without which he would not be able to survive. With great sadness, his owner decided that she was unable to give him the care he needed, and started seeking a good home to adopt Ryker.
It can be difficult to place a special needs dog though. But finally, the owner found a new rescue that was focusing on special needs dogs and senior dogs who had been abandoned in their old age. It was across the county, but transport was arranged by a wonderful group called Rescue Puppies on the Move. Ryker set out two weeks ago on his journey.
Along the way he met several drivers, and the other dogs in the transport. It was an exciting time for him! He gave kisses to all the people who gave him a ride, enjoyed playing with the other dogs (a little TOO much ... they tried to put him in a kennel for a few minutes and that smart boy figured out how to open a kennel gate to rejoin the other dogs for more fun!). He made friends with a female German Shepherd riding with him, and kept going in the bedroom where she slept to check on her when she didn't come out to play with all the others.
He arrived at his new home and decided he REALLY liked the man of the house. The new place had other German Shepherds to play with, wide open grassy places to run, and a very caring rescuer who keeps her rescues in the house with her family. His new life was full of promise.
Then tragedy struck. He had been perfectly fine, but without warning, he became paralyzed in the back end. He lost the ability to empty his bladder on his own. He was taken to the vet for testing, but no injury or illness could be found.
He's currently on antibiotics in case it's a tick-borne disease, and the vet has volunteered to give him a wheelchair to use for the time being. His rescuer is working around the clock trying to care for him in this suddenly difficult condition.
He's getting a little tired of being poked and prodded, tested, and having to be cleaned up when he goes potty on himself. For a day he lost interest in food, but after 24 hours he's eating again. He even had a semi-solid poop instead of runny diarrhea, so we are hoping he's getting better, even though the cause of his sudden paralysis is unknown.
But right now he needs help, urgently. He's having to go in to have his bladder taken care of, since it's been over 24 hours since he was able to urinate. He's being taken to an emergency vet, and can hopefully get the care he needs. His rescuer is temporarily out of funds, since she has had to pay for Ryker's care as well as two 12-year old dogs that were going to be taken to the pound when their owner decided to move out of the country. Ryker's emergency was unexpected.
A fund has been established through YouCaring for Ryker's medical needs, and over half of the money has already been raised. If you can find it in your heart to donate, any amount at all, you can help make a difference. Ryker's had a hard life, but he's been a brave guy all the way through, and never lost his will to live and his ability to love. At only three years old, he still has a lot of years ahead of him - anyone who's ever owned a German Shepherd knows that they grow out of a long puppyhood at about that point, and turn into the most wonderful companions. I'm hoping he'll keep his goofy, sweet personality even though he is finally maturing, and I'm hoping he'll have the chance to live the life he deserves. If you can help, please consider donating. Thank you so much for reading.
Photo of Ryker taken today