Many life changing stories begin with a hero in the right place at the right time, and for Lisa Castro of Florida, serendipity led to the rescue of one very proud paralyzed dog and a remarkable ripple effect that has only just begun.
“I was doing home health care in Apopka and looking for a patient that I only needed to see this one day,” Lisa explains. “I found the duplexes I was looking for off a busy road and pulled in on a dirt driveway. I saw this little animal moving from door to door but I could not tell what it was. It looked like it only had front legs. As I got closer I could not believe my eyes. It was a little dog.”
“He was moving from door to door, seeking attention from people sitting outside, but he wasn’t getting any,” Lisa continues. “I made some kissy sounds and he came flying over to me with his head tilted real high and his adorable lower jaw sticking out so that I could see his bottom row of teeth. I thought he was the most adorable baby I have seen. When I picked him up his back legs were completely limp and the tops of his paws were red with open raw areas due to constant dragging on the gravel and dirt.”
Lisa held the little dog in her arms for a few moments while she admired his face and tried to show him that he was indeed beautiful and that his affection was appreciated. She felt the bones of his slender frame and made the decision to try and take him home with her.
“Can I buy him from the owner ?” Lisa asked.
“I think she will give him to you,” the neighbor responded.
“I kept my eye on him from inside the open door of the duplex as I spoke with the owner because I just knew… he was coming with me!”
Lisa thanked the dog’s guardian for surrendering her dog and reassured her that he would receive the very best care. And shortly there after, Lisa was headed for the veterinary office to begin making good on that promise.
“We started caring for and wrapping his little legs that night,” Lisa said. ”His wounds were healed within two weeks.”
But while the sores were gone, the little dog, now named Sweet Pea, still could not walk. That part was irreversible, so Lisa approached her neighbor Gary who is very handy and asked him for help. As Gary stroked Sweat Pea’s head and received his own shower of wet kisses, he agreed to get started right away and before long Sweet Pea had a custom built wheelchair complete with an American flag on the back.
“Now my Sweet Pea could go for mile long walks with the rest of my pack daily,” Lisa said fondly. “He had a couple special needs and he needed some help emptying his bladder and he wore tiny diapers. He was so expressive you just wanted to look at him all the time – to us he was perfect.”
As Lisa happily fostered Sweet Pea she ran across a couple who adopt handicapped Yorkies. They had sent out an email about needing a wheelchair for one of their new rescues.
“We got them in touch with my neighbor Gary and they came over to get their custom wheelchair built,” Lisa explains. “Gary brought Sweet Pea over to meet them. They fell in love with our guy but did not know he was up for adoption to the right person. So when they later saw him on the website they immediately called me and told me their story about their eight handicapped Yorkies (yes eight!). It was difficult for me because I loved him so, but I knew a home with other disabled pups and parents that were home all day was better for my baby. It ended up being great for him as they take him out to doctor appointments, to adoption events and wherever they go. They just love him to pieces. He now has sister that goes to all the events with him and she has a matching chair complete with an American flag. The couple re-named Sweat Pea and he now goes by the name Corky with a personality that bubbles across everyone he meets.”
“Corky goes everywhere with Sandy, and is the center of attention,” Ronald Robinson explained of his wife’s daily life with Corky and the rest of the pack. “This past October, Corky was Grand Marshall at the American Cancer Society’s 4 Paws 4 the Cause dog walk and costume party in Hunters Creek.”
What’s most remarkable is that Corky has gone beyond the boundaries of his own recovery and is now serving others.
“Corky now sports his service dog badge when he goes out,” Ronald continues. “The smarty-pants has both Medical Alert and Therapy certification. He is the only handicapped service dog we know of. He gets so excited when Sandy gets his harness and chair ready as he knows he is going out to ‘visit,’” Ronald said.
This story has been brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase.