Help Us Give Sophie a Second Chance!

Every single day, our animals give us a second chance to be a better person.  All of us who have loved an animal know what this feels like. They see you for who you are, and they love you anyway.  In the short time she has been with us, Sophie has filled our hearts with joy, made us smile and laugh in spite of her pain, and showered us with love and kisses. We would really like to be able to give her a second chance to have a normal, healthy, pain-free life.


Hello friends! 


We're Jenn and Ben Ayres, professional wedding photographers in Buffalo, NY and this sweet little Golden Retriever girl is our Sophie. She started out as a long term foster, but it quickly became clear to us that we wouldn't be able to imagine life without her.


Sophie is only 15 months old, but she has been through more in her short little life than most of us can even imagine. Her story is a long and complicated one, but we will do our best to explain it with the hope that you will help us give her a second chance at having a "normal" life full of love and happiness.


Sophie came to us through the Golden Retriever Rescue of Central New York. The family who originally had her had reached the limit of what they were able to do financially, with their only other alternative being to euthanize her. The Rescue would only agree to take her on if an acceptable long term placement could be found. That's when Sophie and her story touched our hearts and we knew she was meant to be a part of our lives.


At about 8 months of age, Sophie was diagnosed as needing Bilateral Patella Luxation (surgery to correct dislocated kneecaps on both legs), and a veterinarian in the Syracuse area performed that surgery. While it is questionable that the original surgery was actually necessary, that isn't even the worst part. The post surgery advice given by that veterinarian was to keep each leg tightly bound to the body to prevent weight bearing and extension. When the legs were unbound, and it was clear that something was very wrong, instead of taking a different approach, the vet repeated the exact same surgery on both legs with the exact same post-surgical instructions. This time, her legs were taped so tightly to her body that it caused skin lesions and permanent scarring and the results were the same- something was still very wrong. It is important to note that before this surgery, Sophie had full use of her hind legs and the muscles were intact.


As it turns out, the post-surgical advice given was contrary to opinions provided by two board certified surgeons, a muscular specialist, and a physical therapist. As a result of this inaccurate and detrimental advice, Sophie is now disabled and can no longer use her hind legs.  Sophie's femoral nerve is severely damaged due to the way the legs were bound to the body. This has caused her quadriceps muscles to atrophy so drastically that she can no longer use them.

Recently we had Sophie evaluated by Dr. Robert Stein, a specialist in the area of veterinary rehabilitation and pain management. He confirmed that Sophie's case was one of the saddest and most bizarre that he has encountered in more than twenty years of practice. He was angered by the fact that Sophie's situation was preventable and while he wishes he could have been there with her from the beginning, he's committed to doing whatever he can to help her now.

He believes that there is hope for her, but it involves an extensive amount of physical therapy as well as a visit with a neurologist for a nerve conduction study to determine the degree of damage to her femoral nerve. It is possible for the nerve to regenerate but it will take time (literally years), resources, and the support of people like you who want to make a difference for a sweet, loving dog that deserves a second chance.  We want to give her the world, but on our own, we are limited in what we can do for her financially.  Each physical therapy session costs $70, and it is recommended that she do at least two sessions per week, so the cost of that will very quickly become more than we can handle on our own.  If we do nothing, the stress on her lower back from being unable to hold up her rear end will result in ruptured discs and a variety of other complications that will cause her to lose what little mobility she has left.  Doing nothing is not an option.  She wasn't born this way - it was done to her.  That seems so incredibly unfair.  

In addition to the physical therapy and the visit to the neurologist, here is a wishlist that we have for Sophie to make her life a little bit easier and more comfortable while she begins her long journey to rehabilitation:

- an orthopedic memory foam dog bed (for her achy legs and back)

- an elevated food and water dish (to make it easier for her to eat)

- a wheel chair from "Eddie's Wheels" to help her get around over the next couple of years as she goes through physical therapy

- a wheel chair ramp that will allow her to get up into the car and into the back yard

Also, if anyone out there is trained in Reiki, Quantum Touch, or any other type of energy healing, and are willing to work on Sophie, PLEASE contact us!!  If you know of any healing circles or prayer groups that are willing to share their energy and space with Sophie, PLEASE contact us!!!  Those kinds of donations are just as important to her healing as monetary donations.  

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read about our sweet girl!  We are so grateful for your support!! 


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Jenn Ayres 
Hamburg, NY
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