Pawing It Forward This Holiday Season
Walkin' Pets loves being able to help animals overcome this mobility challenges. To kick off the holiday season and spread joy, Walkin' Pets asked their social media followers a simple question: Do you know any deserving rescue dogs in need? The nominations came pouring in for rescues around the world. When the team came across Miles and his family, we knew we had to help!
Only one year old, Rottweiler Miles although he was brought in as a “stray” no one knows his true story. Early x-rays showed a spinal deformity, but when a specialist ordered an MRI it appeared that is vertebrae were "stacked on top of each other" likely an issue he was born with. When he first came in his back legs were paralyzed, Miles was unable to even stand on his own. Any surgery that could be performed is too risky, and Miles is unlikely to see much improvement in his mobility.
When Brian Umbach and his wife Jamie saw Miles at the Humane Society Charles County in Maryland it was clear that he was supposed to be part of the family. Brian says, "we knew from the very beginning this was a foster fail".
"So now that Miles has been with us for a bit we have learned a lot about him, all good stuff. He does like cats, he loves his walks/rolls and he is a very good pup. Yes, he does have some challenges. He does not have control of his bladder or bowel movements, we knew this going into fostering him. For the bladder part, we use belly bands when in the house with pads placed inside the belly band. We take them off when we go for walks. For the bowel part we found sticking to a schedule is the key. We have only had one accident in the house and that was the first day. We keep a daily log of when we feed him and when he goes to the bathroom. We normally go for 4-6 walks a day. We know normally he will potty on his first walk when we get up, his second walk after breakfast and one of his walks after dinner. If he does not go on the walk after dinner we will walk a little longer or until he shows signs of getting tired. If he does not go potty by bedtime, we just take him to bed. We have not had an accident overnight, but we know he may need to go out a little earlier than normal in the morning."
Miles loves his new foster family and they love him! He fit in so well, they've decided to adopt him! And just in time for Christmas, Miles found his forever home!
Why Miles Found the Perfect Forever Family
When Miles was taken into the Humane Society, he did not have use of his back lags and after x-rays were conducted there was obvious damage to his spine. In all likelihood, Miles will never regain use of his legs. Despite being paralyzed, Miles is a happy, energetic, and very active dog, which makes him an incredible fit for his new family.
Brian is a retired US Air Force Military Working Dog handler and trainer. The 20-year Veteran continues to train dogs for basic and advance obedience training. He and his family are active and wanted a dog to adventure with them. Miles was the perfect fit! Miles will be trained as a therapy dog, “We feel he will be very uplifting to people with similar disabilities when they see his positive attitude."
Walkin' Pets Paws It Forward
To thank Brian for his 20-years of service and start Miles’ new year off with a bang, the Walkin’ Pets team wanted to Paw it Forward. Gifting Miles with his own new Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair! Now, in a wheelchair that fits him perfectly for the first time Miles is ready for his next great adventure….enjoying a lifetime of happiness (and mobility!) with his new forever family.
A Message from Miles' New Family
For the most part when you look past the need for a wheelchair to go on walks Miles is just like any other dog. He loves to play ball, he wants to be around us and picks up training and commands quickly. Building and maintaining a routine has been the key. With Miles, part of the routine is getting set up in his wheelchair prior to going out the door, after doing it a few times he learned the routine and waits very patiently while we get him ready to go out. I feel it is very important to treat him just like I would a dog without his challenges, all dogs have to understand what is expected of them and how to operate as part of the family. We have started training around the house and out on walks. As this is a new environment for him and we don't know how he lived prior to being at the shelter we started with short walks and now building up to longer walks. We also have been slowly introducing him to new things outside, because in many ways he seems like a very young puppy that has not been exposed to many new things.
If I was asked for my advice for someone looking to care for a handicapped dog I would tell them a few things. First, do your research and make sure you are ready and able to handle the challenges. Second, you must have patiences, especially if you do not know their background. Third, even though they may have handicaps, don't treat them differently or baby them, they still have the mind of a dog and need to understand how they fit into the family pack. Fourth, build and maintain (as much as possible) a routine as I would recommend with any dog. Fifth, as with any dog, show them unconditional love.
Yes, there will be accidents. Yes, they may chew things. Yes, you may get frustrated at times. These things can happen with anything in life, when they do, take a deep breath, count to five and press on with the day. All these things can and will happen with any dog at some point in the dog's life.
Follow along with Mile's story on @rollinwithmiles