In March of last year, I discovered Sherri’s Project: Wounded Warrior Pack. Being a veteran with PTSD, I had always wondered about getting a service dog. I went in to check out training, and they asked me to take this dog. Of course, I agreed! Little did I know, that what they were giving me was so much more than a dog. They were giving me a friend and a companion. They were giving me my life back.
Bentley and I bonded instantly. When Bentley came to me he had severe Anxiety, as with most dogs being passed around from home to home, but his was different. But I thought well I have anxiety and he has anxiety, we can help each other. We were told where Bentley came from wasn’t a good home. He showed signs of fear from males and being touched and came to the conclusion he must have been abused. With patience, and I mean A LOT of patience we made it through and Bentley and I graduated service dog training November of last year. So many times I wanted to give up, and there was a lot of tears of frustration. It was all worth it.
About a month ago, I noticed something wasn’t right with Bentley. He was acting much different than his normal self, and I became concerned. Tasks he could easily perform, he would avoid. If he had to do them, he would try and then become frustrated when he couldn’t, or yelp out as if he was in pain. I couldn’t and still can’t bear to see him like this.
We made a vet appointment and assumed it would be something minor. I never would have thought that when I brought my baby in for x-rays that the doctor would tell me he needed surgery on his spine. His spine?! Of all places! What the doctor prepared me for on our initial visit as worst case scenario was actually true, but worse. Bentley is still a young dog, and his spine is falling apart as if he was an old dog. It didn’t make sense. The doctor said because Bentley isn’t a highly active dog, this kind of damage would in fact come from someone who may have abused him in the past. I’m heartbroken.
So here’s what’s going on with his spine. The discs are slipping out from between the bones of his spine and resting on his spinal cord. His spine has begun fusing together and will continue to do so. We have been referred to a neurologist who will go into Bentley’s spine and fix all of that! The doctor said the longer we wait, the more at risk Bentley is for losing complete feeling in his back legs and losing his ability to walk. The results of the surgery have been amazing! Dogs come out better than they ever were before, and with some therapy, Bentley may not have to retire as a Service Dog, but even if he has to retire, he will still be able to walk. And for that, we would be very grateful.
Further MRIs, testing, surgery, handicap equipment, medications, and therapy are not cheap by any means. Just getting out of the Navy and waiting for everything to transition, doesn’t really put us in a good position to pay for Bentley to have the best care that he needs. This surgery isn’t an option, it’s a must! We will do whatever we have to do to get him what he needs to start feeling better, but we could really use your help, even if it’s just sharing our story!
- Kelly Rios
- Karen Ancona
- Michelle and Allan Steer
- Jennifer Rudd
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