Best Friends Forever: A Man and His Paralyzed Dog

By May 18 | See Comments

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Best Friends Forever: A Man and His Paralyzed Dog

If you caught a glimpse of Jack’s big, happy smile from a distance, you’d never guess that there was anything wrong. But getting closer, you’d see that his back legs are paralyzed. When Jack isn’t scooting around in his wheelchair, his unmoving legs drag behind him on the ground.“Jack became paralyzed in 2007 as a result of jumping for a treat -- something he’s done a million times,” says Bobby Kleinau, who adopted Jack in 2006 after hearing about a stray dog brought into the Andover Animal Hospital in Andover, MA. “He jumped, landed awkwardly, and let out a big ‘yelp.’ Later the next day he lost the use of his hind legs.”The day that Jack became paralyzed, Bobby took him to three different animal hospitals.“All of them laid out my options and strongly recommended that I put him down,” Bobby says.In order for Jack to have a decent quality of life, he would need a $12,000 surgery and physical therapy. In addition, because Jack would no longer have the ability to urinate, Bobby would need to learn how to “express” his bladder for him. Jack would also lose control over his bowels.“After all of this was laid out to me, I sat with Jack and asked him what he wanted me to do in a very emotional moment,” Bobby says. “He looked at me and thumped his head right in my chest. I knew he wanted to stay with me. That is when the decision was made to roll the dice and go through with the process. That was the best decision I have ever made.”Bobby and Jack have a truly special relationship. Bobby says that it was “love at first sight” when he adopted Jack, and that the two have been inseparable ever since.“When I first adopted Jack I was selfish and self-centered,” Bobby says. “I never had to care about anyone but myself. After losing 140 pounds, I was on the verge of becoming a complete ego maniac. Jack gave me perspective.”And since his accident, Jack has continued to teach Bobby valuable lessons.“He has been patient throughout the process and has been a blessing to my life in every way possible,” Bobby says. “I mean sure, he can't jump and run the way he used to, but he still goes where he wants to go and does what he wants to do. If he can't get somewhere, he just lets me know that he needs a ‘lift’.”Lifting isn’t the only thing that Bobby does for his pal. He also expresses his bladder three to four times a day, stimulates his bowel movements, makes him a special high-quality diet, and because Jack can’t stand in one place for too long, carries his food bowl and follows him until he finds a comfortable place to eat.“Dating has also been interesting and challenging,” says Bobby. “And I haven't been able to really travel since he want paralyzed because of his dependence, and I won't just drop him off at a kennel. Jack is 65 pounds and I'm very particular on who can lift him correctly and tend to his needs.” Clearly, Bobby’s life has been transformed by Jack’s paralysis, but he says that’s a good thing.“Everybody wants to give me credit for giving so much to Jack,” Bobby says. “But what they don't quite see is how much he has given to me, and continues to do so.”Inspired by Jack’s amazing spirit, Bobby and a friend decided to start a business selling t-shirts with an image of Jack’s likeness. Proceeds from the sale of

Jacky Wheels

t-shirts go to support

The Sato Project

, an organization that saves dogs from Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico then flies them to NY and Boston where they are either fostered or sheltered until they are adopted. If you want to buy a t-shirt, head over to

. And if you want to learn more about Jack and see him and Bobby in action, check out the wonderful documentary “A Dog and His Boy” by Steven Schloss:

As a thanks to Bobby for all that he does for Jack and other dogs, we are giving him a free trial of PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding, and more. Have a story you’d like to share or know a pet-family deserving of a free trial of PetPlus? Contact the Pet Savvy editors at [email protected] or leave a note in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. 


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