Noodle doesn’t know she’s any different.
When the Shih Tzu puppy was 6 weeks old, her previous owner’s child dropped her. The fall broke a critical vertebrae in her lumbar system, which is near the base of her spine. That injury rendered her unable to walk or have any use of her back legs.
“It was a crushing fracture,” Medical Director of the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia Jaime Feroli said.
A few months later and she is almost ready for adoption.
“We wouldn’t have ever been able to take care of (Noodle) before Dr. Feroli was here,” Julie Edwards, executive director for the shelter, said. “I love that we are able to do it now. It is our role in the community to help those special ones that need help, too.”
Since Noodle is a special needs dog, the application process is a bit different.
“She’s going to be high maintenance,” Feroli said.
Along with the normal paperwork involved in adopting a dog, the society has asked potential adoptees to fill out an additional form. Some of the questions include: Why are you considering adopting a pet with a disability? How do you intend to exercise this dog?
The questionnaire also includes a section that details some potential future problems that Noodle may face.
“Any dog is going to be work,” Edwards said. “But with Noodle, you go in knowing.”
A dog like her might need special physical therapy regularly, a newly sized cart when she gets bigger, cleaning when she urinates or defecates on herself, and she is unable to easily escape possible predators.
Applications for Noodle should be sent in as soon as possible, as finding a home for her will be a process. In order to send in an application, contact the Humane Society directly at 770-532-6617, or by email at MindyKanieski@HSNEGA.org.
The furball was brought to the shelter on the fourth day of August in that condition, and was surrendered to the shelter when she became too much of a burden.
Since then, staff have done everything they could to give Noodle, who is now 6 months old, a second chance at life and walking.
From doggy massages to physical therapy, nothing was able to return the function of her back legs, but that isn’t stopping her.
Veterinarian Summer Roper of Browns Bridge Animal Hospital even donated her time to the cause by trying acupuncture on the small dog to see if it would help.
A designated fund was set up for Noodle’s care, but the shelter didn’t have to dip into it. People on Facebook came through and donated enough to cover the dog’s needs, including the cart she uses to get around in now.
Edwards reached out to a company called K9 Karts. The carts range in price, but Noodle’s was $200.
Since Noodle is so small, none of their standard-sized carts fit her. When she was first surrendered to the shelter, she weighed less than 2 pounds.
“They built the cart specially for her,” Edwards said.
Now that Noodle can exercise more with her cart, she’s been eating more and her weight doubled.
“She might grow more, too,” Feroli said. At her full-grown state, she could be up to 12 pounds. When Noodle first got her cart, the dog didn’t take long to adjust.
“She just took off in it,” Edwards said.
Noodle’s speedy recovery and ability to move around wouldn’t be possible without the help of the center’s fosters. Noodle was fostered by 75-year-old Janice Seymour, who lovingly nicknamed her Little Bit.
“The joy of her outweighs anything else,” Seymour said. “We just laugh constantly with her. She’s just as happy as she can be.”
Seymour said she doesn’t bark and sleeps happily in a crate-like carrier. She also puts down a shower curtain and a layer of towels to control Noodle’s accidents. Newborn onesies have also been helpful for controlling the dog’s bladder when she needs to wear diapers or diaper-like items, which come with the dog.
“We wanted to send her off with everything (the future owners) would need,” Edwards said. Other costs might include ramps and baby gates, since Noodle can’t go up and down stairs.
“Our ability to take in special needs pets like Noodle or mamas with litters or animals with major health issues totally depends on us having available fosters,” Edwards said. “If anyone is interested in fostering, please contact us.”
Specifically, the center is looking for someone willing to take in a very pregnant dog.
“We are desperately looking for a foster for her to have her babies with and keep the family until they’re old enough to be adopted,” Edwards said.
For more information, visit the Humane Society.