Olive the Dane's Rehabilitation Journey
Guest Written by Avanti Fernandes
I got Olive as a puppy; she was about eight weeks old the day I picked her up. Everything was good. We were in puppy training classes getting ready to move back to Philadelphia, which is where I attend college. We were in Philadelphia looking at apartments when Olive bumped into my leg and didn’t stand up. Soon after, I realized her front left leg was locked in a fully extended position. I eventually ended up rushing her to the animal hospital thinking she only had a broken leg or something minor. It wasn’t until they had her for hours that they told me I might have to let her go the next day. Within an hour she went from a normal, playful puppy, to a scared and immobile one.
She deteriorated at such a fast rate they had no hope for her. They told me it could be a common Great Dane problem; Wobblers. It wasn't. I never did find out what was wrong with her after every test, scan and specialist I could think of. She was just fully paralyzed. She could barely even move her neck. All in all, I took her out of that hospital and brought her to a rehab facility that didn’t care what was wrong with her; they just cared about making her better.
Our lives changed because of the doctor and team at her rehab facility. While the doctors at the hospital treated her like she was diseased and contagious, her rehab doctor was the complete opposite - a breath of fresh air. Almost immediately they were on the ground working with her, moving her legs for her and getting them to move! I ultimately decided to let Olive live with them so she could get rehab 24/7 Monday through Friday, and then come home to me for rest days on the weekend. It was slow, but we were seeing major progress. Then, someone who specializes in canine massage reached out to me and offered to donate her services to Olive. Naturally I accepted. Within 3-4 massages Olive was walking again. It was truly a miracle.
With the lack of rehab due to COVID, she has taken a few steps back. She needs assistance to walk or her wheelchair, but she’s still happy and has the chance to get back to how she was pre-COVID (and better) as we start to navigate towards a somewhat normal life.
Olive changed my life. Before Olive, I had no clue what I wanted to do; I had no purpose. As a result of making every decision based on what is best for Olive, I ended up with my dream job. I realized I wanted to save disabled dogs and eventually opened a sanctuary for more dogs like Olive! A lot of people say I saved Olive, but this journey with her saved me.
I’ve used FurHaven’s beds for Olive since I got her. I recently got one of the biggest sized beds (Jumbo Plus), and Olive is obsessed with it. Olive’s entire left side is much weaker than her right side, meaning she hates sitting with her left side down. I’ve never seen her want to sit on her weak side, let alone willingly flip her own body without help to the left side, until this new bed! It’s great to see her have so much space and feel comfortable enough to spend time on her bad side. We are so grateful for this bed!
To anyone out there with a disabled dog (by choice or not), my advice to you is to not give up on them. Olive lives an amazing life. While it wasn’t easy, it was more than worth it. There are many resources and amazing people out there who can help you navigate life with a specially-abled dog.
You can cheer Olive on as she navigates her rehabilitation journey by following her on Instagram at @olive_thedane. You can also watch this amazing pup's journey featured on The Dodo here.
If your gentle giant needs a big comfy bed, we've got what they need right here.