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Paralyzed Rescue Dog - Pani

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When the shelter I volunteer at emailed me about fostering a young paralyzed dog that had come all the way from Iran in the Middle East, I had no idea how much this little dog would change the course of my life. :) I had never fostered a paralyzed dog before, but over the past three years I’d fostered all different kinds of special needs dogs here in my little NYC apartment. From teeny tiny puppies to blind dogs, deaf dogs, senior dogs and injured dogs, I’d done a little bit of everything. In total I have fostered 22 dogs and one kitten, with Pani being lucky number 22. Even though I’d never cared for a paralyzed dog before, I was confident that I could learn to care for her and help her find her forever family, as I had done for my 21 foster dogs before her.

If you’re new to Pani’s story, let me fill you in on this little girl who has stolen the heart of so many via social media. Back in 2017, Pani had been found injured and abandoned on the streets of Iran with a spinal injury so severe it left her permanently unable to walk. No one knew for sure what happened to her, but her injury was most likely the result of horrible abuse. Despite her rough start to life, Pani must have had someone out there looking out for her, because a good samaritan found her and connected her with MRT Sanctuary outside of Tehran. Pani lived at the sanctuary for almost a year before getting the amazing opportunity to be sent all the way to Animal Haven in the United States for a chance to receive rehabilitation services and find her forever family. After arriving to the U.S. in January 2018, Pani spent just one night at the U.S. shelter before I picked her up, and has been in foster with me ever since.

As Pani’s foster mom my job was to care for her and give her lots of love until we found the perfect home for her. Since January I’ve brought her to all her twice weekly rehab appointments, brought her to all her many vet appointments, given her her medications, healed her skin breakdown, worked with the vets and rehab therapists to create care plans to safely manage her UTIs (a frequent problem in paralyzed dogs and people), walked her on a rear harness before getting a wheelchair, and then helped teach her to love walking in the wheelchair once we got it. I learned to manually help her go to the bathroom since she doesn’t have bladder or bowel control. And I learned how to change a dog’s diaper like it’s no one’s business. ;) 

As month after month passed and we got into our groove, I started to think, as did so many of you that have reached out to me through Instagram, that maybe I am the perfect home for her?! But there was one major thing holding me back from making it official and adopting her myself…and that was the cost of her care. Caring for a special needs dog is not only incredibly time consuming, but incredibly expensive as well. When breaking down the cost of her special needs care month by month, it adds up to be almost an extra $2,000/month, every month, for the rest of her life. And between my job as a child life specialist at a pediatric hospital, and my blog, that just wasn’t feasible.

But, as luck would have it, seemingly out of the blue I got an amazing opportunity to go on national television to talk about Pani and spread the word about animal rescue. And right before I went on air, the anchor privately asked me why I wasn’t keeping Pani myself and I reluctantly told her I wanted to, but just couldn’t afford it. And she very kindly offered to help me with the cost of Pani’s care if it meant Pani and I could stay together. And as time passed from that day, again seemingly out of nowhere, more and more people started offering to contribute to her care so we could stay together. And that is what led me to start this GoFundMe page. I figured if these people wanted to help, maybe there are enough people out there who would be interested in contributing to her care, so that we really, truly could stay together.

Up until this point, Animal Haven has covered all her costs from her rehab to her wheelchair and many vet visits and medications. They have spared nothing for little Pani. Animal Haven has even graciously offered to help me with the cost of her care going forward, but since they have so many wonderful animals to help, it would be ideal if we could come up with the money here to lift some of that financial burden off of the shelter.

If you donate to this campaign your donation will go towards:
Rehabilitation therapy
-Pani receives dry therapy, water therapy and laser therapy twice a week, every week at Water4Dogs in NYC. Because of the severity of her injury she will benefit from these therapies for the rest of her life. These therapies help to strengthen her back legs and core in hopes off regaining some mobility, prevent atrophying, prevent skin breakdown, release tension on her upper body from dragging herself when she is not in her wheelchair, reduce swelling, etc.
Vet Appointments & Medications 
-Because paralyzed dogs are prone to UTIs, Pani is a frequent flyer at the vet and has had to be on antibiotics way too many times to try and get them under control. It’s a catch 22 because she needs the antibiotics to help get rid of the UTIs, but frequent antibiotic use can be dangerous in and of itself.
-As mentioned above, frequent antibiotic use can be dangerous, so it’s important to try and manage Pani’s UTIs naturally as much as possible. Pani currently takes cranberry supplements and probiotics. Pani has also been recommended joint supplements by her care team at Water4Dogs to help prevent early onset joint problems caused by carrying the weight of her whole body with just her upper body (when not in her wheelchair).
-Because Pani is paralyzed she does not have bowel or bladder control the way a normal dog does. The diapers are necessary because, through no fault of her own, she leaks and has accidents.
Wheelchair Adjustments
Pani’s wheelchair is amazing and has given her a new lease on life. She loves cruising around in that thing! But over time with wear and tear she will need adjustments to it, and because she’s still young and has her whole life ahead of her, eventually replacement chairs.
Unforeseen medical issues related to her condition

And donating to all of the above goes towards keeping me and Pani together.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to be Pani’s foster mom these past seven months, and now even more of an honor to call myself her forever mom. I can’t know quite how everything aligned so that I ended up here in New York City with this little paralyzed dog all the way from the streets of Tehran, but I’m sure grateful I did. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and donate should you feel compelled to. I am so excited to be Pani’s forever mom and your donation is helping to make that possible.

You can learn more about Pani and our journey together on my Instagram page, @tedisarah .

Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

xo, Tedi (Pani’s foster mom turned forever mom!)


Tedi Sarah
New York, NY

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