Friday, April 2, 2010

ASPCA Happy Tails: Broken Embraces

If ever there was a dog on a mission to disprove the old myth that shelter dogs are “damaged goods,” Spike is that dog. This energetic black-and-white Poodle mix arrived at the ASPCA in May 2006 with a broken hind leg that required extensive surgery. Yet his physical trials did little to diminish his sunny mood or his adopter’s unconditional affection.

Michael Alber of Manhattan met Spike two months after his arrival at the Adoption Center. “I discovered Spike online on a Saturday night, fell in love and rushed to the ASPCA to see him in person the following morning,” he says. “After an interview with his doctor, I took the two-year-old home with instructions to bring him back for a vet check two weeks later.”

During his follow-up visit, ASPCA veterinarians determined that Spike’s leg wasn’t healing properly. The little trooper required another operation to install a steel plate in his leg. It was no matter to Spike, who continued to stay positive and was thrilled when he finally went home with his new pet parent. Says Michael: “Two days after the surgery, I took him home with 17 stitches in his leg, a cone around his neck and a smile on his face.”

Spike’s challenges weren’t completely over—he and his pet parent endured physical therapy sessions four times a day—but the pup grew happier and happier with each passing week. “Throughout the healing process, the smile never left his face,” explains Michael. “Within six weeks, his limp was completely gone and he could run faster than anyone in the neighborhood, including me, a marathon runner!”

Nearly four years later, Spike is thriving. “He makes new friends—both human and canine—almost every time we step outside,” Michael says. “Spike continues to be the happiest, friendliest animal I have ever known.”

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