Julie Hill has been a long time client of the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado. Julie was first seen in 2002. Julie has presented 5 of her dogs to the VRCC for specialized care since that time. During this time period, Ms. Hill was approached by the ophthalmology and neurology staff of the VRCC to adopt a miniature pincher from an owner who had provided care to allow for comfort and quality of life. This included specialized spinal imaging (MRI) and spinal surgery to return his dog to an ambulatory, happy and pain free status. After developing insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, cataracts and secondary glaucoma, the owner has to consider humane euthanasia. When approached regarding adopting this lovely dog, Ms. Hill immediately adopted the miniature pincher and provided the financial, emotional and physical support to ensure a complete recovery and ongoing therapy.
Julie Hills story at the VRCC did not stop there.
Julie Hill presented “Shayla” to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology for assessment and direction. As background, “Shayla” was rescued from a puppy mill unable to stand or walk with her hind limbs at 4 months of age. Not long after, Julie volunteered to foster Shayla. We have come to know that Julie has a larger heart than we knew, especially for dogs with special needs. Julie believes all animals deserve a chance for a normal life, just like people with disabilities. Julie informed her husband Jeff that Shayla was just a “foster” and as soon as she recovered, Julie would find her a loving home. Little did Jeff know. Or maybe not.
Julie presented Shayla to Dr. Lane of Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology immediately after bringing her home. Based upon Dr. Lane’s examination, Shayla was suffering from a lower motor neuron disorder to her pelvic limbs. This meant that she did not have nerve innervation to allow for stimulation and movement of the muscles of either pelvic limb. This resulted in the inability to move either pelvic limb and she had lost an incredible amount of muscle mass in her hind limbs. Because of her age and unknown history, it was never determined what caused the problem, whether it was a congenital based problem or if she had sustained trauma during birth or in the post-natal period.
Regardless, Shayla was a happy, energetic and pain free dog. She was also lucky to have an incredibly determined “foster” mother who was prepared to provide all that was necessary to help her build up muscle mass and learn how to use her hind limbs. Shayla was introduced into para cart immediately after presentation to Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology. In addition, Julie performed hydrotherapy, massage, stretching and range of motion exercises multiple times a day. Shayla responded with a positive attitude and endless energy. Julie had truly found her match.
Shayla has returned to the Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology on two occasions for measurement and cart adjustments to her para cart, as she continues to grow. With Julie and Shayla’s bond and continued efforts, Shayla developed increased muscle mass and increased flexibility and movement of her hind limbs. Shayla was now a fixture in the Hill household. She would not be removed after becoming the anniversary present for Jeff!
Shayla continues to exude love to a caring family who continues to give back. She uses the para cart and is now able to stand and take a couple of unaided steps. Her warm, affectionate and outgoing spirit dominates at all times. She is normal in her mind! This has led to the development of an amazing bond between Shayla, Julie and Jeff. The option for Shayla to be given to another loving home was never an option. Julie has seen to that!