A DEDICATED dog owner who refused to give-up on her family pet after he was paralysed has nursed him back to full health.
Linda Burns, 49, of Allen Close, Fleetwood, adopted the three-year-old Cocker Spaniel over a year ago, and named him Rooster because of his striking red fur coat.
The drama began one morning when Rooster didn’t come when Linda called him for his breakfast.
Knowing something was wrong she went to investigate.
“He was sat bolt upright at the top of the stairs, like a statue. I tried talking to him and encouraging him, but he couldn’t move.
“It was very distressing, so I called PDSA.”
Rooster was rushed to the charity’s Blackpool PetAid hospital, where the veterinary team immediately examined him and ran a series of tests. Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Jennifer Jackson, said: “The cause of Rooster’s paralysis was unclear, but he appeared to be suffering from a disc protrusion (slipped disc) – which can be very serious.
“We admitted him into our intensive care ward to monitor him, but there was no improvement over the next 48 hours.
“We had to ask his owners to make a difficult decision: could they devote the time needed to care for their paralysed pet, with the possibility that he may never recover, or have him put to sleep?
“Many dogs with spinal injuries never regain movement and if owners wish to look after them, they must do everything, including feeding, carrying, and emptying their bladder manually. It takes real dedication.”
Faced with such a negative outlook, Linda and her family – husband Stephen (53) and son, Ryan (12), initially felt there was no option than to have Rooster put to sleep.
But, at the last minute Linda decided she couldn’t give up.
She said: “I knew the odds of him recovering were very slim and I didn’t want him to suffer any longer, but I could still see the old Rooster when I looked into his eyes and I thought to myself, ‘I can do this’.
“He was only two-years-old and I thought he deserved a chance at life. ”
The next two weeks saw Linda dedicated to Rooster, providing 24-hour-a-day care. She fed him, expressed his bladder each day and carried him to bed each night.
Linda also became Rooster’s personal physiotherapist, under PDSA’s guidance. With the help of the vets and nurses at Blackpool hospital, she taught him to walk again; and step by step the feeling slowly returned to his limbs.
Linda said: “After four months Rooster is nearly back to his old self. “His back legs are still weak, but he can do all the things he used to.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support and guidance of PDSA. “Rooster needed so much treatment and we would never have been able to afford to pay for it all,”
Blackpool PDSA PetAid hospital provides free vet treatment for sick and injured pets of eligible owners in need. For more information about PDSA PetAid services call 0800 731 2502 or www.pdsa.org.uk.