A video uploaded by Melissa Swanson on March 26 is going viral, touching viewers with its heartwarming and heart-strings tugging depiction of a crippled dog dragging herself to the door to greet her returning airman petdad. Emma has to wait her turn while the family’s other dogs jump all over Daddy, but she is rewarded with a loving embrace.
Emma is a 1 year old American Bulldog/Pitbull mix with a birth defect called Hemivertebrae. She also has a neurological disorder similar to cerebral palsy. She was born October 14, 2011. Emma’s family initially took her in as a foster dog, but then adopted her and gave her a loving forever home.
The video has been shared on the internet, and was featured on TV on the Boston Fox affiliate yesterday. Melissa wrote at Emma’s Facepook page afterward, “Who knows…maybe the Ellen show will want to meet her. Then we can show people that special needs dogs are just as happy as “normal”
Emma currently has close to four thousand fans and friends at her Everything Emma Facebook page. New friends have either wondered why she does not use a wheeled cart, or have inquired about helping her get one. Her family is now looking into a specialized cart for her, as Emma’s situation is different from many dogs using carts. An exerpt from a post at the page explains: “Many have asked why Emma doesn’t have a doggy wheelchair. We have tried a couple on her. Due to her front legs also not being normal and bowed out, she wasn’t able to use it. It put too much pressure on her front end. Once she’s not able to move around well on her own, we will likely get her a quad cart that supports all four legs. We don’t want to do that yet because it will weaken her front legs and make them bow out even more. However, I am looking into a specially made cart, just for her condition, that she can use now. They’re 24 hours from us, so it will be quite an undertaking. However, after so many people have asked for a link to donate to get her one, I’ve decided to post that. It was never our intention to do this, but we’ve been shown so much love and support for which we are VERY thankful!” The family is asking that those people making donations send them to the SNARR (Special Needs Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation) Rescue, the organization taking care of Emma’s medical bills, and not directly to her family. Details, for those interested, can be found at Emm’as Facebook page. Emma’s family is also encouraging supporters to learn about SNARR at their frequently updated Facebook page.
Below is the video that brought attention to Emma, along with another from her Facebook page.
Mar 29, 201: Airman comes home to handicapped dog from 6 month deployment!
My husband has been deployed for 6 months. Before he left, we adopted (are long term foster parents for SNARR-a special needs animal rescue) a special needs puppy with a severe birth defect. Emma and her daddy were very close! It broke her heart when he left. When I come in the door, she normally sits at the end of the hallway and waits for me to pick her up. This time, when her daddy came in, she went to him! Mikey (the tan dog) was so happy he cried! Gotta love homecomings!!
Many have asked why Emma doesn’t have a doggy wheelchair. We have tried a couple on her. Due to her front legs also not being normal, she wasn’t able to use it. It put too much pressure on her front end. Once she’s not able to move around well on her own, we will likely get her a quad cart. We don’t want to do that yet because it will weaken her front legs. However, I am looking into a specially made cart, just for her condition. It will take some time though, if it’s possible.
If you go to the Emma’s FB page you can watch more videos of her. She gets around really well outdoors. She just has trouble on slick tile. We have a bunch of rugs down for her in the living room for her to move around on. Also, Emma is still under the medical care of SNARR, the special needs rescue group that we got her from as foster parents. So that they can keep a close eye on her, they have agreed to let us keep her for the rest of her life (Woohoo!) but still pay her medical bills, which are quite expensive at times.
One of several videos from Emma’s Facebook page shows her playing out in the yard: