If you’re a fan of Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet you’re going to love this news. The 2019 season of the popular Animal Planet show will feature Watson the paralyzed dog. This good-natured Puggle was saved by Dr. Jeff after a tragedy left him unable to walk.
Because Watson is such a charming little guy, he’ll be featured in three different episodes. You can watch the first part of Watson’s journey on Saturday, June 1 and then see rest of his story on June 21 and on July 27.
According to my sources, Dr. Jeff has never had the same dog on multiple episodes of his show. But Watson’s story is so intriguing, this wheelchair Puggle is setting a new standard.
Watson’s road to recovery
Kiki McGough is a retired special needs teacher who worked with the Head Start program for 43 years. She’s also a self-proclaimed Puggle person. She fell in love with the breed after adopting an 8-week-old puppy named Maddie and a rescued puppy mill dog named Sadie.
Today she has three girls: 13-year-old Pudgie, 12-year-old Katie, who was sent to a shelter, and 11-year-old Topanga. Watson joined the family last Fall.
Here’s what Kiki said about how she discovered Watson
I sometimes look on Petfinder and that’s where I first saw a beautiful Puggle in a wheelchair. But I told myself that I can’t have 4 dogs, so I hoped someone else would adopt him. Every month I would check on Petfinder only to see Watson was still available. This went on for 7 months.
Finally, I called Susan Rieger-Shade, Director at Planned Pethood International, the nonprofit organization run by Dr. Jeff. I thought I would volunteer to take Watson for a walk, but Susan asked me to foster him.
He was bigger than my other Puggles but I couldn’t stop staring at his soulful eyes. That was on a Sunday. I went home and got my house ready for a paralyzed and incontinent dog.
I read everything I could find about paralyzed dogs. I even tore out some of the carpeting in my house to make it easier for him. The following Friday, I picked him up.
How Watson became paralyzed
Watson injured his spinal cord when his original family closed a reclining chair on his back. According to a friend of the family, they were devastated when Watson was injured, but their jobs wouldn’t allow them to take care of his special needs. So, they gave him up when Dr. Jeff’s staff said they would try to find someone to adopt him.
From that point, Dr. Rachel at the clinic became Watson’s vet. She took care of him for 7 months while he healed. Watson was placed on crate rest and given medications to relieve pain and inflammation. Later he started swim therapy to increase the strength of his core. Kiki said he wasn’t happy about being in the pool, but he loved using the water treadmill. And he really enjoyed the massages he got after each workout.
When he was ready, Watson was put on the adoption list at Planned Pethood International, but no one came for him. The staff at the nonprofit didn’t mind he hadn’t found a home because they fell in love with him. Watson became their unofficial mascot.
He spent his days hanging out in their retail store and in Dr. Jeff’s clinic. He was especially happy behind the reception desk. In fact, that’s where he slept when everyone went home for the night. Watson never slept in a kennel and he never used a leash. He was very well-behaved as he scooted with his paralyzed legs around the building.
Watson was so popular with the staff that played a special role in a big event for Susan. Spoiler alert: You’ll be able to see the event in part two of the series.
Life at home with the other Puggles
Watson has settled in with Kiki and his 3 Puggle sisters. He loves “helping” Kiki by sitting on her lap while she prepares for the seminars she gives, about special needs children. And Watson has lots of fun teasing his sisters. All of the dogs play in the yard. Kiki said Watson is so fast in his cart, he actually makes it leap in the air.
In addition, Watson has continued physical therapy. He can now stand on his own for a few seconds. He gets around the house crawling instead of dragging his body. Watson has some sensitivity in his paws and he’s even wagged his tail on occasion.
Kiki is very hopeful he’ll continue to improve. She calls him a “very determined” dog.
Kiki takes Watson for potty breaks outside every 2 hours due to recurring Urinary Tract Infections. But she told me at first, she thought she was the “world’s worst person to express a dog’s bladder.”
Everyone kept telling me to feel for the ‘bubble’ in his bladder and I couldn’t find it. I was afraid he’d have another UTI and I’d have to give him back.
But Now I’m an expert. I even taught our Doggy Daycare how to do it.
Watson gives back to the community
Watson’s charismatic personality has an effect on everyone he meets. It’s led him to become an ambassador to raise money for Planned Pethood Plus and for special needs kids.
He goes with me to some of my conferences and sits on the floor while I present. People come up after for a chance to meet him and thank Watson for coming to the event.
People like to talk to him. One man came up and showed us his prosthetic leg. He told us he’d had the prosthetic since he was 8-years-old, but never talked about it, until he met Watson.
And pet lovers have been generous in contributing to Watson’s recovery. This winter Puggle fans bought him a new dog wheelchair that helps him use his legs more. They also bought him a snowsuit to keep warm during the cold Colorado winter and a stroller for times when he can’t use his cart.
Some fans plan to have a watch party for Dr. Jeff’s show. And Kiki is doing a fundraiser for homeless dogs by offering Dr. Jeff and Watson photos. Four different Puggle Websites have a Fan Club for him.
I hope you’ll tune in for Watson’s television debut. It always makes me so happy to see how a disabled pet not only maneuvers through life, but thrives when they are given the opportunity.