A Chihuahua Overcomes a Paralyzing Stroke

written by Mary Debono, GCFP

Alighting from the Cadillac, Marion placed the small bundle gently in my arms. As I looked down, all I could see was a tiny tan head peeking out of the swaddling. Wrapped safely inside the blanket was Marion's precious companion, Chilee the Chihuahua, who had suffered a stroke 18 days before. Marion explained that the little dog's right legs were paralyzed and he was unable to stand. Since the Chihuahua had not improved at all despite his veterinarian's best efforts, euthanasia was suggested. But Marion was determined to give her dog another chance to recover, so she left the animal hospital and brought Chilee straight to me.

Marion had read about my work with animals and hoped that I could help her dog regain the ability to walk and joyfully engage in life again. Before his stroke, Chilee had served as a Delta Society therapy dog. Marion and Chilee had regularly visited hospital patients; spreading good cheer and helping people overcome disabilities and depression. Interestingly, the Chihuahua's greatest contributions were with people who had suffered a stroke.

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