This is a tail about Hydro and the man who saved him. Hydro’s story begins the day his dad discovered him tied to a tree on a large Avocado plantation in rural San Diego. His dad was shopping for a motorcycle but got Hydro instead.
Hydro was unable to walk. He was dragging his back legs and as a result, his back legs were all beat up.
It turns out, Hydro used to have free run of the large plantation until one day he didn’t return. The search found Hydro in a ditch, unable to walk. There was no obvious explanation for his paralysis or for his newly discovered incontinence. The incontinence is the reason he was tied to the tree.
Hydro’s original family were not being purposefully cruel, they were just doing the best they could within their means. Hydro’s dad was sure he could give Hydro a better life and two days later he took Hydro home.
First things first, Hydro needed a vet check up. He appeared healthy but a diagnosis on his paralysis was necessary. During sedation while Hydro was neutered, x-rays were taken and revealed two bullets and fragments in Hydro’s spine.
Shocking, who shoots at a harmless, defenseless dog?
Hydro’s dad was hopeful when referred to a neurologist, as the neurologist had previous success restoring full function to a dachshund, who had been paralyzed. Unfortunately for Hydro, this was not to be.
His stimulation response was the lowest it could be: he had no feeling from the waist down. The location of the bullets meant the spinal cord had been severed. Surgery was not an option to remove the bullets as it could have resulted in paralysis to his front legs as well.
Hydro’s dad used dog diapers initially to solve the incontinence issue. It was quite challenging to change the diapers and get Hydro cleaned up on a regular basis. So Hydro’s dad engineered a stand where he could prop Hydro up in a standing position.
It is quite an invention.
The vet showed him how to void Hydro’s bladder gently and he does so twice a day. It takes him about 10 minutes a time to “manage” Hydro’s daily constitutionals.
The dog diapers were relatively expensive so Hydro’s dad switched to regular baby diapers. He also uses wet wipes for cleaning Hydro and pee pads for capturing the pee. All of which he purchases through Costco. It is a relatively affordable solution, one which is neither overly messy or time consuming.
Hydro Propped Up in His Stand
The other big issue for Hydro was mobility. He may not be able to walk, but he is a very happy 2 year old Siberian Husky, with a beguiling smile, who loves to run and play.
Hydro in His Wheelchair
Hydro was fitted for a wheelchair and learned how to use it. He was able to run and play like all the other dogs at the dog park. However, the wheelchair gave him terrible sores inside his legs where it rubbed.
The sores were very quite difficult to treat and took a long time to heal. Also, Hydro couldn’t get around inside the house with his wheelchair - too many obstacles in his way.
Hydro’s Sores from Rubbing
In order to get around without the wheelchair, Hydro dragged his hind legs behind him. His legs got scraped up but the scrapes were easier to treat and healed faster than the sores from the wheelchair.
Hydro’s dad had been following another paraplegic dog on Instagram and through them found another solution, called a drag-bag. The drag-bag covers Hydro’s hind end and enables him to get around quite well on his front legs without causing him any further damage. He wears the drag-bag when inside the house and sometimes outdoors. He is quite happy and even plays fetch!
Hydro Wearing his Sheepskin Boots
Just recently, Hydro’s dad came up with another solution for Hydro’s legs. He wrapped Hydro’s hind legs in faux sheepskin seat belt protectors. Now Hydro can drag himself around without causing damage to his legs and without getting sores from his wheelchair. It’s a win win. Hydro is a lucky dog to have such a caring and inventive dad.
On a day to day basis Hydro’s time in his wheelchair is limited. He only goes in it when necessary to avoid creating sores that take time to heal. That way when he needs to use it he is able to do so without any discomfort or health issues.
One of Hydro’s dad’s worries when first adopting Hydro was that Hydro might slow him down. An active individual, he was worried he may have to leave Hydro behind. It turns out that has not the case at all. Hydro keeps up. In fact, he recently completed a 15.7 mile backpacking trip up a 10,600 foot mountain. Not bad for a dog in a wheelchair.
They have recently discovered Hydro loves to swim. Swimming gives him a sense of normalcy as he is just like all the other dogs while swimming and he knows it. He swims both in his wheelchair as well as with a life jacket. It is terrific therapy for him to help fight muscle atrophy. His dad is thinking of installing a pool for just that purpose. Hydro definitely lucked out the day his dad discovered him.
Hydro & Family on Their Hike
Hydro Hiking into the Sunset
Hydro is an inspirational dog, has an indomitable spirit and never shows any signs of feeling sorry for himself for his plight. Hydro’s dad says now that he is settled into a routine, Hydro’s care is actually pretty easy.
It did take perseverance, ingenuity and patience but the reward has been immeasurable. He couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out.
Hydro & Gouda Checking Out the Ducks
“Caring for Hydro has made me a better human being.”
It is a responsibility to care for one of God’s creatures that can’t take care of itself. A pet is a lifelong commitment. Hydro has definitely reaped the rewards of the love and care showered upon him. He is happy and plays with the zeal of a 6 month old pup. He is constantly smiling and shows us all that life can be lived fully no matter what so long as you are loved and cared for.
Hydro’s dad is happy to help others who have paraplegic pets. If you want more information on Hydro, his care or how to help a paraplegic pet in your life, please get in touch and we’ll connect you to Hydro and his dad.
If you are interested in following a Hydro’s adventures, you can find him on Instagram @goudadoodle. All photo credits courtesy of @goudadoodle.
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