If you’ve ever read my stories, you know that I am a huge fan of the clinical trial being conducted at Iowa State University to get paraplegic dogs walking. The study for paralyzed dogs is combining rigorous physical therapy with injections of a new drug into the spine to restore communication between a dog’s brain and legs. I was very excited when I (virtually) met Oscar Madison, a little dog that is taking part in the clinical trial.
Here’s an interview Oscar’s mom Christian shared about her dog and why they joined the study.
Why did you adopt a paralyzed dog?
We (Christian and Rick) never planned to adopt a dog at all at the time. Our cat Cassa was sadly passing away of a brain tumor and we were back and forth to the vet to care for him. We had previously adopted and had wonderful dogs for 17 years and both in their time had passed away.
Our vet fosters dogs for NY Pet-i-Care and they must have brought in a bunch of dogs for shots or something because all the sudden dogs ran out from the back room and there was Oscar scooting along with them. It was clear he was special needs because his little legs dragged along behind him, but his smile was HUGE!
It was love at first sight. From that moment on both of us wanted Oscar. Before he came to live with us I did a crash course for special needs dogs. I checked online for wheelchairs, doggy diapers, pet strollers and whatever I could find. What we didn’t know we learned along the way. It never mattered that he couldn’t walk we just wanted Oscar.
Describe a typical day for Oscar
He sleeps with his ladybug pillow and blankets. He picked his own spot in the bed and sleeps there every night and wakes up every morning with a smile. He likes to slide down the ramp and go find his best buddy cat Booda and lick his ears. All of our fur-babies are rescues. Then I express Oscar’s bladder in the tub. We do this three times a day. He’s dressed every day in his Tinkle Trousers and pad so he stays dry in between expressing and he wears his drag bag so he can run around and not risk scratches on his legs. Oscar eats drinks then naps or goes for walks outside in his wheelchair. Sometimes our walks are arount the building where we live if the weather is bad. On long trips we pop him in his stroller and carry his wheelchair with us. His life is like any other happy dog who loves to play and smile and share love.
What’s your experience like at the Iowa State University study for paralyzed dogs?
This December will be his third time there. It’s a two day drive from NYC. I stay in the motel down the road from the clinic and drop Oscar off every morning and pick him up afterward. The people there are really nice and treat the dogs with kindness and lots of care and hugs. I couldn’t leave Oscar at the clinic for a week as some of the other owners do so I am in Ames, IA the whole time. This has been made possible by a fundraiser we’ve done and help from Oscar’s friends on Facebook.
I bring in my own food and I don’t spend much while I’m there. On the drives to and from Ames, I stop at rest stops so Oscar can play and stretch and eat and drink. We sometimes meet other dogs and nice people. I try to make it as fun for him as possible. In between stops he rides in his dog hammock in the back seat with his pillows so he naps a lot. Ames is a great city and while we are there Oscar and I visit places after his clinic treatments. We love Ada Hayden Park. I also signed him up for the permit to use the public dog run which is 10 open acres just for dogs! The motel also has a small yard where he likes to play. The staff at the motel is so friendly. They love when he scoots around the halls checking into everything. He goes behind the desk and into the laundry room and says hi to everyone.
We have great hopes for this treatment for the future or pets and people. All the driving is worth it!
We wish Oscar Madison NYC the best outcome possible in the clinical trial. If you know of a paralyzed dog that might like to participate, Iowa State University is looking for 20 more dogs to take part in the program. Keep up with Oscar’s progress on his Facebook Page – Oscar Madison NYC.
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