And on the 70th Day, He Walked…Backwards!

At this point Maverick had been with us for almost three months. We had thrown everything including the kitchen sink at him. We had given him many, many hours of PT. We’d had every expert we knew of weigh in on how to help him. We had stretched and stretched and stretched his twisted limbs until none of us can take it any longer. We’d even been in tears on a few occasions as he cried and bit us while we put him through his paces, knowing that we needed to do what we were doing if he were ever to walk again, and wanting more than anything to stop and call it a day. And then one day it happened.

We were working on him, stretching his limbs and mimicking the motions of standing and walking when all of the sudden mid-therapy Maverick wobbled to his feet. You could have heard a pin drop. At least three people screamed. The girls from reception grabbed their phones to photograph him. Everyone came running. “MAV JUST STOOD UP!” He had a grin on his face as big as the moon. Tail wagging furiously. And then he fell down.

It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. Everyone cheered and clapped as we stood around the grinning puppy. And then? He did it again. Wobbling like mad he struggled to his feet. YAYYYYYY!!! His therapy was working. At last.

After the cheers and the hugs had subsided my immediate concern was that his feet were still not screwed on straight. I didn’t want to encourage his standing or walking until his feet were going in the right direction. But I couldn’t STOP him from wanting to get up and walk, though I would have much preferred it to be with his feet working correctly. We now had his front feet solidly on the ground in a normal position but the back feet were still so twisted and his tendons so tight that if he stood up he could only walk on the tops of his feet. They were upside down! But it was a start.

The next day he took his first step. More progress! But here’s where it gets funny. He couldn’t walk forward, he could only walk backwards! I have no idea why. But for some reason it seemed to come more naturally or easier for him to go backwards than forwards. I couldn’t complain though. Being able to stand on his upside down feet and take a few steps backwards was a heck of an accomplishment for a dog that had been essentially a potted plant for the past three months. And boy, did it sap his energy. Even taking a few steps winded him. I realized that he had absolutely no cardio fitness. Which made sense because he hadn’t moved in months. His lungs probably hadn’t developed normally and what little cardio fitness he’d had at 10 weeks old was gone. Mav needed more time in the pool!

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