Today is National Make A Dog’s Day! We have a special opportunity today to rally around a dog who could have their day made.

One of our amazing veterinarians, Dr. Steve Zachar, and his girlfriend Dr. Kelsey, are fostering a dog named Darla and share her full story below.

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From Dr. Steve Zachar and Dr. Kelsey, 

Hello! Meet Darla.

She is our newest foster: a 14 week old mixed breed puppy who had a real ruff start to life.

We don’t know the exact details of Darla’s beginnings, but she was presumably abandoned behind the animal control building in The Navajo Nation (AZ/NM/UT borders) after being attacked by a much larger dog. A driver from animal control then hit her with their car before noticing her and taking her in. They reached out to Soul Dog Rescue who picked her up and brought her back up to their facility in Ft. Lupton, Colorado.

Dr. Kelsey works with Soul Dog regularly and received a message from their technician about a broken puppy, asking if euthanasia was her best option. We saw that Darla was emaciated and trying to stand on her own, but had obvious muscle loss and neurologic disabilities. Kelsey recommended X-rays and physical therapy as soon as possible, but with the overflow of pets coming up from the reservations Darla’s medical needs kept getting postponed.

There was an obvious need for swift medical care, so naturally our pack size increased by one paraplegic puppy. Full-body X-rays on Darla showed that her injuries were extensive: a fractured right tibia, a fractured rib, a fractured L2 vertebrae and secondary spinal cord compression. Her leg fracture healed incorrectly, and Darla will likely never be able to fully extend her right leg and is predisposed to arthritis. Needless to say, Darla will require lots of time, energy, and finances in order to get her back on track.

Darla’s amazing physical therapists at Walking Paws Rehab (Boulder) are confident that she will be able to walk again, but it could take several months of intensive physical therapy. We need to heal the inflammation and retrain her body to rebuild the muscles and nerves she lost during her injuries and periods of disuse. We plan to do everything within our means to get her up, walking, sitting, and running with the big dogs.

Darla is getting stronger by the day. On intake she couldn’t even hold herself up, but after just a few weeks of intensive therapy she is able to stand for several minutes on her own (check out those videos!). Her current medical plan includes at-home physical therapy sessions 3-4x/day, daily electrotherapy, weekly Walking Paws Rehab appointments, acupuncture 1-3x/week, and pain medications and Chinese herbs, all on top of the chaos of raising a puppy!

We hope to get her in a set of wheels soon to expedite her recovery. As you can imagine, the costs add up. The rescue’s funds are stretched thin with animals being imported weekly and they just don’t have the resources for such an intense case. But – we know Darla is worth it. And we know others will think she’s worth it too. She is incredibly food-motivated and sassy as ever. She loves to bounce herself around the backyard on her two front legs and chase her foster brothers (both seniors who aren’t particularly fond of her antics), she loves watching our cats roam around the house and squirrels outside the window, and most of all she loves to EAT. We know it’s just a matter of time before she will be ready for adoption into a loving forever-home.

So please help us help Darla if you are able to. We can’t wait to see Darla run!

Offline donations (Venmo, PayPal) are welcome too, and we’ll add those toward our goal on this page. (@Kelsey-Stocks, @Steve-Zachar). Thank you to all have already donated, we would not have been able to get this far without your help <3

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The Most Recent Darla Update:

Hello Darla fans! It has been a whole month since Darla has been under our care, so we just wanted to update everyone on her awesome progress. She has gained 5 whole pounds since her arrival, with visibly increased muscle mass in her hind limbs and along her spine. She can stand on her own using her hips, and she has a cute limp tail wag whenever she stands to eat. This week she had her first experience in the underwater treadmill, and yesterday she took her first steps in her new Walkin’ Wheels cart. Her wheels are temporary and will offer hind-end support until she learns to walk on her own unassisted. Check out her videos 🙂

We are 2/3rds of the way to our fundraising goal! Thank you all so much for all of your generous donations, and for sharing her story with friends & family through social media. Please continue to follow and share Darla’s story through Emails, Facebook, & our Instagram accounts. Your financial support thus far has allowed us to order all of the equipment, food, and supplements needed for her continued at-home care, and 11 physical therapy sessions at Walking Paws Rehab.

We look forward to sharing her next progress report soon. Thanks again!

Written By: Dr. Steve Zachar, Caring Pathways Veterinarian

Dr. Steve is very passionate about geriatric and end-of-life pet care and feels honored to serve as a member of the Caring Pathways Team. He believes that a peaceful, comfortable passing is the greatest gift we can give to our beloved companions after they have spent their entire lives loving us unconditionally. Click here to read Dr. Steve’s full bio.

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