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Sport/Spirit: The Six-Million Dollar Dog (Okay,
six thousand dollar dog)
A black Labrador Retriever, Sport is so lucky to be alive and
like the Six Million Dollar Man, they had to rebuild her.
After living her first 1 ½ years in a 4’ x 4’ kennel
at a backyard breeder’s home and barely ever let out, Sport
somehow got out or escaped; we’re not sure which. And (BAM!)
she was hit by a car. Both of her back legs had to be pinned
and reconstructed; hence the $6,000 nickname.
After her surgeries (and her owner relinquishing ownership of
Sport to Dr. Kathy, the local vet) Healing HEART Sanctuary (HHS) was
called in to see if we had a cart that might work for her as
she was not supposed to use her back legs at all. Sport, having
never been socialized was a complete emotional mess, curling
into fetal position whenever anything new came along, which was
everything from collars and leashes, to stairs, to vet hospitals.
We tried the cart but she just curled up, it wouldn’t work.
We then decided to try the Q
Energy Spa machine, which is known for aiding
and accelerating healing. The two things we know for sure that
happened after that and a few more sessions were that her hair
grew back on the surgery sites at an amazingly fast pace and
emotionally she calmed down. She had been screaming each night
at the vet hospital, as she just didn’t understand what
was happening to her. After the first treatment she never screamed
again. She began a learning process, which for most dogs starts
just after infancy, one of learning about the world.
Sport’s body and spirit grew stronger with each passing
day. She stayed at HHS quite frequently for treatments and began
swimming here. HHS’ other
dogs taught her everything they knew about the world, such
as how to play, how to meet people, begging, etc. She was an
enthusiastic and excellent student. She would truly study what
they were doing and how they did it until she felt confident
to do it herself.
Her only Achilles Heel was separation anxiety, which manifested
itself as frantically eating anything edible in sight; thankfully
she has an iron stomach. Executive
Director Laura Bradshaw can’t tell you how many times Sport ate pills
or other medications thought to be enough out of the way that
easily could have killed her. Other than a little loose stool
she never even noticed. She became a champ at getting into things
you thought you had secured. It was how she passed the time while
you were away.
In the end, Sport’s physical injuries had healed perfectly
and you wouldn’t have known anything had ever happened
to her. She was finally adopted to an amazing family in Phoenix
who as long as she didn’t eat doors or drywall (which she
never had) was perfectly happy to help Sport through her final
challenge, feeling at home in a real home, her own home.
The family continues to update us on her latest antics; which, as we,
as we anticipated, are getting less and less as she realizes
there’s nothing to be scared of now that she has her forever
home. And because of the wonderful attitude she has, they decided
a more appropriate name for this lovely soul is “Spirit”.