The stray Doberman’s spine was severed, but surgery and physical therapy made Spencer healthy and ready for adoption, writes do̴gfull.
Everyone loves videos of cute dogs, but the first images Jackie O’Sullivan saw of Spencer the Doberman weren’t cute—they were a cry for help.
WARNING: Graphic content!
“It looked like he had been cut in half,” recalls the co-founder of Rescue Do̴gs Rock NYC (RDRNYC).
The video captured Spencer looking incredibly bent over and understandably sad after being taken to an animal shelter in South Carolina on January 4. The shelter staff knew this dog needed resources he didn’t have, so hundreds of miles up the East Coast, Jackie’s phone started lighting up. up to date with notifications.
When he checked his messages, he found two videos of the emaciated Doberman fawn, presumably purebred.
“They asked me if we could take it and I said yes,” he explains.
Jackie learned that Spencer had been eating roadkill on the interstate when he was hit by a car. He was then taken to the shelter, where staff quickly surmised that this wasn’t the first bad day in 1-year-old Spencer’s life.
His badly cropped ears at home and his scarred body told the story Spencer couldn’t: His rescuers wondered if he had fled a life of abuse only to be run over on the road.
“They took him to our vet [in the area], which is called Paws and Claws in Columbia, South Carolina, and they immediately realized his back was broken,” Jackie recalls. “Their only hope for him was to get to a specialty hospital, so they sent the x-rays to a neurologist, so that same day he went there.”
The veterinarians at VCA Animal Specialty Center in South Carolina had good news for Jackie. Because Spencer was very young and could still feel her legs, she was an excellent candidate for surgical repair of her severed spine. However, there was also bad news: his stomach was full of bird bones that threatened to puncture his intestine, and open wounds on his head and legs needed stitches.
Secondary concerns could not be addressed until Spencer’s spine was stabilized. The surgery had to be done immediately and would cost thousands of dollars. Jackie knew Spencer was worth it.
“He seemed torn in half, but he had a strong will to live. He was giving kisses, he was eating,” she says. “He had every reason to live.”
While Spencer was on an operating table in South Carolina, her photos were uploaded to the RDRNYC Facebook page, where dog lovers were as shocked by the images as Jackie had been. The well wishes and donations started pouring in, and by the time Spencer left for physical therapy, she already had her own Facebook page.
“So many people wanted to know about it, it actually crashed our website,” Jackie says.
In the days following his successful surgery, Spencer seemed determined to recover. His doctors were happy to see that the dog was eager to begin physical therapy work, and were even happier when x-rays revealed that his body was safely passing the road bones. He wouldn’t need stomach surgery.
Two weeks after his hospitalization, Spencer was transferred to West Hills Animal Hospital and Emergency Center on Lo̴ng Island, where RDRNYC can monitor him more closely while he continues his daily physical therapy.
According to Jackie, the only thing Spencer seems to enjoy more than her physical therapy sessions is playing with toys. She has received many of them and having her own toys has brought out the puppy in her.
Over the last month, Spencer has gone from walking with a sling to walking on his own, and Jackie says he’s getting stronger every day.
Although he still requires a lot of physical therapy, Spencer is now ready to take the next step in his life and RDRNYC is accepting adoption applications. Jackie can’t wait to see him walk into her forever home.
“He is a great young, happy and otherwise healthy dog. He is ready to have a great life.”