Healing Heart Sanctuary



Residents  |  Happy Tails   >   Sport/Spirit

 Sport smiling

Sport smiling


Sport playing ball

Sport playing ball


Sport running

Sport running


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”.

HHS symbol

Helping Animals & Children get back on their feet.