Dog News

Massage Therapy Helps Paralyzed Dog Walk Again

by Melanie

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1.23.13 Massage Therapy
Jessica Dragan with Sadie


One of Sadie’s favorite things to do is to go to Pet World Warehouse in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin and get massages from Jessica Dragan.  While some dogs receive massages to relieve anxiety or just as a treat from their doting owners, Sadie gets them as part of her therapy.

“Her favorite spots to be massaged are her neck, her shoulders, and her sacrum or tailbone, she just loves it,” Jessica said.  “I push all the toxins out of the muscles, push ’em out with my fingers and hands.”

Last April, Sadie was shot and left for dead in the Kentucky woods.  Someone found her, and she was treated for gunshot wounds that landed right between her eyes, and in the back.  Due to their precarious locations, the bullet and shrapnel cannot be removed from her spine.  Her hind legs were left paralyzed.

“I gotta be careful, work with the neck muscles because there’s some extra straining going on just because she can’t use those hind legs,” Jessica said.

Eventually Sadie ended up in a WI shelter.  Joal Derse-Dauer didn’t plan on it, but she admired her spirit, and fell in love with the injured dog.

“Believe me this was not on my bucket list to rehab a paralyzed dog, it just wasn’t,” Joal said.  “However, she’s very thankful, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

It’s not always easy for Joal since she works full-time, but she does her best to care for Sadie.

“How do I do it?  Uh… you know what, that’s a good question.  You know people who have normal lives and say, ‘Let’s take a walk after work,’ or something like that.  It’s like, ‘you don’t understand, there’s no “after work” for me.’”

Sadie’s situation was not looking hopeful at first, but she has regained some strength in her hind legs.  She has to drag herself, but she is able to get around.

“It is possible she could walk normally,” Jessica said.  “We’re gonna be realistic though in our goals as far as how she’s going to do, after everything is said and done.”

Despite the extra time, money and dedication required to care for Sadie, Joal has no regrets in her adoption.

“She’s just taught me so much.  She will not sit down in a car, because she’s absorbing all the traffic and everything that life has to offer,” Joal said.  “She has taught me, we have to love not only animals and people, no matter what kind of baggage they have, and I think it’s absolutely huge, because we all have baggage.”