Help Cali Walk Again!

 ***Meet Cali, our beloved 4 year old Border Collie/Jack Russell Terrier mix.  She recently became paralyzed from the waist down due to a ruptured disc in her spine.  Her condition became critical and we feared that she might not make it.  But Cali pulled through and she needs all of the help that she can get to get her back on her feet again.  She is the center of our world and we just want to give her the wonderful life that she deserves.  This is her emotional story about love, tragedy, perseverance,  and miracles.  *** 

Cali was found on the street when she was just a baby.  My boyfriend and I took her in and promised to give her the best life we could possibly give.  She looked like an angel, the cutest puppy I've ever seen.  We quickly learned that she was full of endless energy and she loved going on adventures with us.  Every chance we could get we would take her hiking, camping, climbing mountains, snow hiking, or swimming in the bay.  She would climb boulders and charge through rivers without a care in the world.  She's a brave little girl.  She absolutely loved chasing her ball and we were amazed by how fast her short legs could move.  She is such an affectionate dog, she covers your face in kisses, always wants to cuddle, and would jump up to give me hugs every time I came home.  When we wake up in the morning she jumps up and attacks our faces with big doggie kisses.  Her tail constantly wagging, she is surely one of the happiest dogs out there.  She's also the smartest one I've ever known.  She's learned countless tricks, all in less than 5 to 10 minutes.  She amazes me every day. 

On January 21st Cali suddenly wasn't able to stand up.  We rushed her to the emergency vet who said she had ruptured a disc in her back.  She could not stand on her hind legs, but she still had feeling in them, which was a good sign.  We were told to give her strict bed rest for a couple of weeks along with pain meds, muscle relaxants, and anti inflammatories, and we should see improvement.  After a few days her condition started to get worse.  We took Cali back to the vet because she was losing pain response in her hind legs and up to the middle of her back. They transferred us to a VCA hospital to meet with a neurologist.  We thought we were bringing her in for surgery, even though we had no idea how we would afford it.  We were willing to do anything to help her.  After her exam they told us that it did not look good for Cali.  They suspected the rupture was severe but the only way to know for sure was with an MRI.  We waited for what seemed like forever until finally we were given the worst possible news.  She was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and one of her discs had ruptured and was compressing her spinal chord.  But this wasn't the bad part.  We were told that she had developed ascending/descending myelomalacia, a rare and fatal deterioration of the spinal chord that affects about 10% of dogs who suffer an acute rupture of a spinal disc.  They said it was an irreversible disease that would ascend up her spinal chord leaving her fully paralyzed and leading to death within a day or two.  We just couldnt believe that something like this could happen to this amazing, smart, loving, playful dog.  They urged us to not wake her up from anaesthesia and to euthanize her right then and there.  They had never seen a dog recover from it.  I just couldn't imagine coming home to a house without Cali, the thought was unbearable and we didn't know what to do. Even though the surgeon told us we should put her down, we couldn't bare the thought of not saying goodbye to her, and we didn't want her last moments to be in fear or pain.  We decided to wake her up and after one look into her eyes we knew we had to bring her home, knowing that it might be the last night that we had with her.  Again, the vets advised against it. We planned to call someone to our home to euthanize her if the paralysis started spreading up her spine, but we never gave up hope that she would survive.  We stayed up all night with her, making sure she was comfortable and giving her all of our love.  It's amazing how much this little creature means to us, she is our best friend, and the light of our lives.   We gave her the pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and anti inflammatories that we were given from the neurologist, but you could tell that she was still experiencing some discomfort.  She was panting, and sometimes trembling.  We were searching for anything that we could do to help her and make her comfortable.  After a lot of research we decided to try CBD oil.  And after one dose we noticed a huge difference.  She was calm, her breathing returned to normal, she stopped trembling, she was comfortable.   We stayed by her as the days started to pass and we could not believe our eyes!  By some miracle the paralysis did not progress at all!   With each passing day we gained more hope that she would pull through and, with time and rehabilitation, hopefully be able to walk on her own again.   Thanks to the CBD oil, she is not in any pain.  She seems a little better every day.  She has so much life in her eyes and still loves to give lots of licks and kisses.  We make sure at least one of us is there at all times, even sleeping on the floor next to her and waking up throughout the night to check on her. We are also lucky to have family to help us look after her when we need it. Our cat, Kitten, has been by her side the whole time watching over her and comforting her. Words can not express how grateful I am to still have her in my life. It really is a miracle!  She has always been strong, and tough, and so brave.  She is a fighter. 

Cali has a long journey ahead to recovery.  And unfortunately it is going to be an expensive one.  The MRIs alone cost thousands of dollars.  It is our mission to give her the best possible chance of recovery.  There are many treatments that can help paralyzed dogs learn to walk again, including a doggie wheelchair, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and laser therapy to name a few. There are many stories out there of paralyzed dogs getting back on their feet.  Your donation will help go towards a wheelchair and any medical expenses and rehabilitation that she will need.  Every penny and every share that you are willing to give means a chance for our baby to live a long and fullfilling life.  I can't even tell you how much that means to us.  We will continue to give updates regularly to let everyone know how Cali is doing and how their donations are helping her.  Thank you so much for reading her story.  Please share it with your friends and donate if you can.  We are so beyond grateful for any help that we can get. We couldn't do it without you! 

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Cristi Hamano 
San Diego, CA

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