By Shilpa Thapa*

Oreo is one of the happiest dogs anyone will ever come across. He is a happy boy, full of life and never misses a chance to play with his human brother and sister. Oreo was rescued from the streets.

On a regular morning walk with my elder pet Joey, I came across a little one month old pup that was covered in blood. He had been severely bitten by another stray. The wound was so fatal that it punctured his spinal cord and nerves making him paralyzed for life. After a few tests the vet confirmed that he will never be able to walk again. We tried physiotherapy and exercise along with medication but it did not work for him. Eventually, he learnt to drag his little body to move around. The vet suggested that we put him down as he would not survive on streets in this condition but then we realized that even after his pain medication was over he was not in pain, rather just without any sensation waist down. In simple words, he couldn’t feel anything in his lower body.

We did not have the heart to put down the happy little guy.

Knowing the indie-dog adoption scenario and having faced difficulty myself in getting other healthy indie pups adopted, we were sure that we might’ve never found a loving home for him. Having a dog is a big responsibility and one that requires special needs, one really has to devote ample time and attention. So we decided to adopt him ourselves.

The initial challenges we faced were to cover him with diapers as he did not have control on his urine. As he grew he started to fit in them. The second one was to take him for walks as we wanted him to be as independent as possible. We used slings on him when he was a pup. Eventually, we got him a fabricated wheelchair made from iron rods and bicycle training wheels. I came across an organization in Mumbai, which had just started to make wheelchairs for paralyzed dogs and purchased one from them. It was light weight and easy for Oreo to pull his body forward. Having said that, Oreo refuses to be put in either of the wheelchairs; he wants us to hold his hind legs and move him around. Once he finds a soft grassy patch of land he likes to be left alone so he can hop like a kangaroo. Sometimes, his hind legs get bruised in all this excitement but that doesn’t hold him back from having fun.

To us Oreo is like a child. We have never considered his inability to walk as a problem for us. He has accompanied us in many car rides and family vacations. He has an elder dog brother Joey, an adopted indie dog who gives him company while we are away.

Oreo is extremely affectionate, obedient, a brat sometimes, but we love everything about him. So far we have spent four great years with him. He has brought so much positivity in our lives by never giving up. He’s a blessing for us!

Every morning, he quietly creeps into our bedrooms and waits for us patiently to get up. Once we are up, he hops around the entire house inviting us to play catch. He loves to play with a big old football and plays fetch. The most interesting game he plays is ‘hide and seek’. If we cover his eyes, he knows that he is supposed to look for the person who is hiding. How amazing it is to know that he understands everything we say to him.

He is a well behaved kid. He is super friendly and at the same time very attentive and protective if he comes across a stranger. He knows he’s not supposed to disturb us if we are busy and will patiently wait for us to get free.

And may I mention he is a jealous boy too when it comes to attention. He does not want our other dog Joey to come near us while we are petting him. He likes sitting in balcony in the morning and evening hours watching people pass by and his other stray friends playing. My daughter loves to dress him up and he sits patiently wearing all the frocks and ribbons.

Science says Humans and Dogs share 85% of their DNA. But that’s not the only reason dogs have always been man’s best friend. Unconditional love, devoted companionship, and constant entertainment anytime and anywhere; this is what I can wholeheartedly receive from my dog Oreo.

If Oreo would’ve had his hind legs, facetiously, I can say he is the best dog ever. Or maybe the reason he is super special is because of his condition that has made him such a unique pup.

As Charles Yu said and I quote;

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the person I am.”

*Author is a proud pet mom to two beautiful Indies and a passionate animal lover.

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