Wyatt lifts his head and grunts at the sight of visitors.
They are pleas for attention, to be pet, to be comforted, but it’s the most he can do.
A black Labrador, Great Dane mix puppy — weighing in at 55 pounds — he might never be able to move his back legs. Everyone’s best guess is that Wyatt was hit by a car and paralyzed along Pumping Station Road in Juniata County.
Veterinarians at Metzger Animal Hospital, where Wyatt is being cared for, don’t believe his crushed spine can be surgically fixed. The same goes for each surgeon that One Dog at a Time, the rescue group that picked up Wyatt on the side of the road, has reached out to.
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“I think about the only option he has beyond the rehabilitation they’re doing now is to have his spine surgically stabilized,” Metzger veterinarian Bob Rider said. “Having his spine surgically stabilized though probably doesn’t increase his chances that he’s going to walk at this point, which is why we haven’t proceeded at this point. Given the injury to the spinal chord and the way it’s crushed, stabilizing it isn’t going to fix that.”
There is reason for hope.
One Dog at a Time founder Kari Coble said it was unknown if Wyatt had feeling in his legs until Wednesday when neurological exam results came back negative.
“We went to the next option (beyond surgery) that we hope and pray is the miracle we need,” Coble said. “I transported him to Pittston yesterday and saw Dr. Cathio and did a spinal injection hoping to to relieve some pressure and to bring some activity back to the nervous system, and he wagged his tail. I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did he wag his tail?’ I’m still in shock about it.”
Wyatt then began physical therapy at Metzger. If he continues to show any improvement, he will get more injections with the hope that begins to move his back legs.
Rider said Wyatt could have a happy life without surgery if someone has the time to care for him.
“We have quite a few dogs that have their hind limbs paralyzed that live happily,” he said. “It takes a lot more work for the owners to care for them to keep them clean, to keep them mobile. They usually get carts to help them get around just like people get wheelchairs. They can live happy, productive, great lives. It just takes more care than some other dogs.”
One Dog at a time is trying to raise funds for the costs of Wyatt’s care. The group set up a YouCaring crowdfunding campaign for him.
“At this point we are sincerely asking for prayers,” Coble said. “Does this dog need a miracle? He really, truly does. Do I think that miracles can happen? Absolutely.”