Watson came into my life in 2008, after being kept in a cage in a puppy mill for the first year of his life. When I met him, I knew very little about puppy mill rescues. He came right over to me and when I tried to pick him up, he hugged me so tightly around my neck to hold on as I scooped him into my arms. He captured my heart in that moment, and he’s had it ever since.
When he came home, Watson was despondent from the abuse he suffered at the puppy mill. He wasn’t interested in food, didn’t know how to play, and was terrified to be left alone. After some intensive sessions with a trainer who specializes in rehabilitating dogs, Watson started to come out of his depression.
I will never forget the first time I saw him run. He was clumsy and uncoordinated. Our trainer seemed worried at first, but then said, “I don’t think he’s ever run before.” I felt so fortunate to witness him experience the the sheer joy of running free for the first time in his life.
Since then, Watson has become this incredible, loving presence in my life, in Tommy’s life, and in the lives of so many others. I was blessed to often bring him to work with me. Every day he came to work, he would run like a crazy dog up and down the hallway, looking exuberant. Later, he got to join Tommy at his job with Reading Rainbow where he quickly became one of the family and a valued honorary employee. He took his job of getting chicken and scratches from everyone in the office very seriously. And of course, the crew would line up to watch Watson run up and down the hall like a crazy dog.
Monday morning, he was unwilling to jump up on the couch with me. I picked him up, thinking he just wanted to be babied. A few hours later, he would only walk a few steps before he collapsed. At first, we thought maybe he had a little infection, but as the day passed, he got much worse. We went to Animal Medical Centre in Studio City and waited for hours to see a veterinarian. I felt almost guilty because there were so many true emergencies happening. However, when the doctor saw us, she was very concerned. She said that he had “ataxia,” meaning his legs weren’t working in coordination with each other. This meant he had a neurological problem, most likely in his spinal cord. The vet gave us lots of medicine for pain and inflammation. She couldn’t see anything on the x-rays, but she said if he wasn’t significantly better by morning, we needed to see a neurologist right away.
After a sleepless night, Watson was very medicated but still in pain. We called the specialist – a veterinary neurologist and surgeon at ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital. Dr. O’Neill saw us Tuesday and said he was concerned about a spinal cord compression, possibly caused by a degenerative disc. We spent another sleepless night with little Watson crying most of the night, despite medication. We had an MRI early Wednesday morning and a few hours later, we got the call: Watson had a very diseased disc that was pressing on his spinal cord, causing pain and paralysis. Dr. O’Neill recommended back surgery, which he could begin almost immediately. This was Watson’s best chance to recover the use of his legs.
Tommy and I love him dearly, and we could not bear to see him suffer. We had the surgery today, which the doctor said was very effective. Watson is recovering in their doggy ICU, and then will spend 2 days mending at the hospital. The doctor is hopeful that he will have a full recovery.
What We Need
We would do anything for Watson, and we desperately want to see him running free again. However, the costs are going to be very tough, at around $7,000 for the surgery and MRI alone. We’ve had many concerned friends reach out to offer support - both emotionally and financially - which has been very moving and meaningful to us.
After speaking with many friends, we have decided to take their advice and use Go Fund Me to ask for help with the expenses. If you can give- or even if you can share our story to help- Tommy, Watson and I would be so grateful. Every little bit will help us overcome the bills, and your donation will help this little ball of fur and love get to run free once again.
- Vinnie and Abby Donadio
- Bill Gausman
- Lauren Bush
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