At the off leash parks every visit can be an adventure. I had no idea one morning what I was about to witness. The park was fairly quiet; there were maybe five dogs with their owners.
In the distance we could hear a beagle howling in the parking lot with much enthusiasm; it was obviously very happy to be reaching a loved destination. All of a sudden the dogs looked towards the gate drawing our attention to the new guest. What we observed had our jaws hanging open in amazement, followed by smiles all around.
This beagle came running into the field not on all four legs, but only using his front two. His hind legs were strapped into a cart with wheels. As he came closer all the other dogs just stood and watched him. No hackles went up on any of the dogs, or behaviour to challenge this unique little guy. Some regular smelling front and back occurred and the dogs resumed their regular park behaviour.
He ran for a ball being thrown and we watched with delight seeing him going full tilt on his custom set of wheels! He would return with the ball in his mouth and go again and again. Howling was part of his exercise too, breaking us into laughter and smiles.
The owners were fascinated by the beagle’s situation and we were soon filled in. His owner, Melissa, told us that his name was Harrison. In 2010 he slipped a disc in his back and was paralyzed from the waist down; this emergency can sometimes occur with beagles. Odds were fifty to sixty per cent that he would regain the use of his hind legs after surgery. He had the surgery to prevent things from being even worse and to this day he is unable to walk but is not in any pain or on any medication. He is happy and healthy and Melissa and Rob are glad that he is present in their lives and hope he will be with them another six years.
I asked about his medical costs and, although they were very high her extraordinary love for her dog prevailed. This encounter had us all thinking about what we would do if similar circumstances arose for our family dog. I wondered about my limitations, ethics and values if I was presented with such a curve ball.
I was curious as to what reactions Melissa receives when she and Harrison meet strangers on the street. She said people’s reactions are pretty mixed. Some people think that his circumstances are a shame and that he must be in pain etc. Melissa jokingly told me that a sign might help on his custom wheels, saying that his name was Harrison, and that although he is paralyzed from the waist down, he is happy and pain free without the need for medications.
Other people are incredibly touched by his presence and the love and dedication of his owners. We chatted about him being a great role model to children or adults in wheelchairs with his spunky, joyful attitude.
Melissa told me that Harrison has his own blog, http://harrisonbeagleupdates.blogspot.ca. I checked it out and was mesmerized by his story laid out for followers to keep in touch. Initially, their blog was for their family and friends, but of course he has quite a fan base now including myself! There are videos of him on the blog and the many obstacles he has overcome are detailed. He needs help with toileting but they have this part of his routine down pat. He is seen playing in the bathtub with a ball, going on vacation, swimming with a life jacket and recently going up a couple of stairs – a first for this little guy.
Don’t hesitate to check out the link and be inspired today!
Dogstwentyfourseven has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/dogstwentyfourseven. Interesting articles and links are posted every week. Please click on “Like” if you are enjoying my posts and page.
If you would like to receive my blog posts by email as soon as they are published, click on “Follow” on my main page. You will automatically receive them immediately after publication. Thank you for your support! Becky White