Opal and Wallace: A New Year Without Pain
Let me introduce you to two of our most beloved dogs: Opal and Wallace.
Opal and Wallace are alike in a lot of ways. Both are German Shepherd mixes. Both appreciate social time with volunteers, not least because of the treats brought with them. Both are sweet dogs, magnetic even from far away.
Both have been with us for months—far exceeding our average canine’s stay of ten days—healing, resting, and recovering from the same severe injury.
When Opal and Wallace arrived at our veterinary clinic for their intake exams, just a couple weeks apart, it was clear something was wrong. During the team’s routine examination of the dogs, we discovered a few more things Wallace and Opal had in common: They favored their back legs, Wallace his left, Opal her right. Their gaits weren’t quite right. Each step seemed to pain them.
Drs. Tina and Jenny couldn’t confirm their diagnosis without special equipment. Both pups were sent to a veterinary orthopedist, who confirmed our initial suspicions: Opal and Wallace were suffering from a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)—the equivalent injury of a human ACL tear. Based in part on the severity of the tears, the dogs had been living with their injuries for some time—years, most likely. Wallace’s hind muscles were greatly atrophied; Opal had arthritis in both hips, likely exacerbated by the torn ligament.
From the orthopedist we also learned another important fact: the surgery to replace the dogs’ ligaments would cost several thousand dollars. Each.
Though we’re no stranger to animals with special needs, the duplicate expenses were extraordinary. But there was no doubt in our minds. Of course we would help them—how could we let them continue to live in pain?
Generous supporters stepped in, going above and beyond in their love for our animals. Steve and Andy Kloetsch, cofounders of RSVP Real Estate, both expressed a similar goal that motivated their gifts: the desire to help Opal and Wallace lead pain-free lives.
Their dedication to Homeward Pet extends beyond the cause of these two deserving animals, however. When asked what inspired their gifts, Andy spoke about lessons learned from animal companions: “The love and compassion pouring from our pets is endless but also inspiring. In learning from them, we all needed help and we need to help those who can’t help themselves.”
Similarly, Steve was pleased to see the transformation wrought by his gifts: “We wanted to give them the love and help to heal. We had the opportunity to meet Opal and Wallace before and following the surgery; seeing them not in pain and happy is the best gift we could have received.”
The good from their gifts didn’t stop there. After learning of RSVP’s generosity, an anonymous donor came forward to match it—fully covering the cost of both surgeries.
Opal and Wallace’s road to recovery is still ongoing. Wallace has relocated to foster care, and Opal walks with specially trained volunteers. Both have one shaved back leg; both spent time taking hesitant steps in leg slings and making pity eyes from cones. Both receive physical therapy to strengthen their weakened muscles.
Both are beginning to feel what it’s like to walk without pain—thanks to animal lovers like you.
We believe that each animal should have an equal opportunity when they arrive at our shelter, receiving the help they need to thrive in the home that’s waiting for them. As Homeward Pet grows, so does the number of stories like Opal and Wallace’s—animals who need more than shelter care, but who are affectionate, loyal dogs with some bad luck.
In 2017, Opal and Wallace took their first steps without pain. In 2018, help us reach other animals like them. Give a gift today to make more animals’ dreams of a better new year come true.
Homeward Pet Executive Director