Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Amazing Story - Dex the 2 Legged Lab

I was forwarded the story today of Dex the two legged lab - it is the story of a husband and wife dog owner who had a puppy that refused to give up on him - when given the choice between euthanasia - and seemingly nothing else. I'm going to just copy the story that I was sent, and put their You Tube Channel here so that you can watch the video's that I watched - and you can be as inspired as I was - because it's an awesome story - and one that has just started, because Dex is still a puppy - and he is going to set the duck hunting (or whatever bird hunting those videos are showing!) world on fire.

I especially love the fact that his owner is being so positive in his training methods with Dex - I thought that was really great - so here's what I got today -

There have been several thread on this dog on one of the hunting retriever forums that I am on. This is one impressive dog. Here is his story, PS You need kleenexes.

Dex The Two Legged Dog

It seems as though our dog Dex has acquired a lot of well wishes after his amazing performance this past weekend at the hunt test. Allow us to briefly recap his story so that those who are new to him can understand just how special he is.

Dex will be six months old tomorrow. In his brief life, he has found his way into the hearts of all that he meets with his unending courage and the biggest heart of any living creature.

At approximately seven-ten days old, Dex's mom accidentally stepped on him, and his two back legs were broken beyond repair. Our vet at the time couldn't see the breaks in his X-ray films, and told us that he was just bruised and needed daily physical therapy which we did faithfully. He gave him an injection of dexamethasone, and we began to call him Dex from that point on. We knew it wasn't working because there was no improvement, and he seemed to be in pain when we worked his two limp hind legs. It was heart wrenching.

One day, we picked up Dex to hold him, and his hind legs had a terrible odor. We began to give him a bath in an attempt to rid him of the odor, and to our horror his toenails began to fall off. We rushed him to our vet who told us that there was nothing more to do; his legs were rotting off of him and he was going to die from infection. The choices were bleak: euthanasia or death by sepsis after much suffering.

As dog lovers, either choice was incomprehensible. We desperately searched for a second opinion with a very sick puppy in our arms day and night. Our prayers were answered in our new vet.

She examined Dex and immediately began antibiotics. She also gave us some very depressing choices: double rear amputations or euthanasia. She was compassionate yet frank with us by telling us that a two-legged lab may not be a happy one because labs are meant to run and fetch; this was unlikely to happen with only two legs. We took a day to think about our options for Dex.

We decided that euthanasia was a choice that was completely final. It seemed only fair to give Dex every opportunity we could find before deciding that his life should end. It was the most difficult choice we ever had to make because we had to separate our own feelings of wanting him with us and thinking about what was best for Dex.

To everyone's surprise, Dex thrived throughout his surgeries. He spent many weeks at the vet, and everyone at the clinic was wonderful with him. They treated him as one of their own, going so far as to serve as his daycare this summer. He never showed any signs of depression with the loss of his legs, and his spirit soared. He was on pain meds for only a few days post-op.

We researched online and found a company that manufactures wheelchairs for dogs with hip dysplasia. We got Dex a chair, and immediately he took off in the chair as though he had always been in one. This chair gave him the gift of mobility and agility. Seeing him run in his chair was more uplifting than we could ever put into words.

One evening, we were playing with our Maltese by throwing a stuffed animal for her and Dex took off after it and retrieved it. We thought it was just a fluke, but he kept doing it. Suddenly, the light bulbs went off for us. Dex was about beating the odds...why not train him like a normal lab?

We began with some simple retrieves with his chair. He absolutely loved it! The training continued, and as he improved we started to question whether or not he could run and complete a started test. We decided to give it a try.

Of course, we were worried about Dex's capabilities compared to the other dogs at the test. We received permission to use his chair during competition, and we also got the OK to use a children's floaty on his back end to keep his rear afloat while he swims. We were hoping at best to see Dex enjoy a weekend socializing with others and getting to be around a few ducks. Boy did he surprise us.

Dex won two started ribbons this past weekend. He did such an awesome job, and we are so proud of him. He ran and swam like a pro, just doing what he loves to do. He is a testament to not letting things get you down and learning to improvise. He used his chair when the grass for the land test was short, and he ran on his stumps (quite quickly I might add) when the grass was longer because it would clog and stop his wheels. For water, we carried him to the starting line, attached his floaty and he swam to the duck and back and then drug his stumps to the bucket to return to hand with his floaty still attached.

Dex has taught us so much in so little time. He taught us to never give up, to see the bright side of things. He taught us to love unconditionally. He taught us to smile when we don't always feel like smiling. He opened our hearts in ways we never knew we could. Some people say that Dex is lucky to have us as parents, but they are wrong. We are blessed to have Dex in our lives. We can't imagine what life was ever like without him. Many people wished us well at the hunt test, but we take no credit for his triumphs. The hunt test was not about us; it was about Dex and how wonderful he is. We wanted to share him with the rest of the world so that he could get all the praise he truly deserves.

We don't know how far Dex can go in terms of hunt tests, but won't it be fun to see what happens? As long as he is having fun, we'll keep letting him do what he loves...retrieving ducks and giving kisses.

I will update with video from Saturday's land and water test tonight hopefully.
I continue to get error messages because it is taking a long time.

I would like to thank everyone for their support. Specifically, Central LA Hunting Retriver Club, Ernie Istre (Regional Field Rep), Ken McDaniel (Hunt Chairperson), Lloyd Corville (Judge), Kenny Broussard (Judge) and everyone else for the support.

Thanks Curtiss

I hope you enjoy hearing about this dog. I'm stunned at the desire and drive this dog has. It would have been so easy to have euthanized this dog, but his owners gave him the chance.
Gerry Young

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