Echo’s story was originally shared in the Clear the Shelters Adoption Story Challenge on ShelterChallenge.com. Echo won the Grand Prize of $12,500 in cash and pet supplies for Animal Aid Society! Create your own free Shelter Challenge account and vote for your favorite shelter or rescue group to win cash and prizes. Every time you vote we’ll give an extra donation to shelters!
On January 9th, 2018, a man came to Animal Aid Society to turn in a Great Dane puppy that he had found wandering. His attempts to locate a family were unsuccessful, he already had two rescues himself, and was not in a position to take on a third dog.
When Echo arrived, we saw a very underweight, malnourished puppy. He was estimated to be about 6 months old and weighed in at 65 lbs. This put him about 20 lbs behind where he should have been for his breed. The vet also surmised that he has been kept in a confined space that was too small for him, impacting his ability to adequately move around and gain muscle mass.
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While we didn’t know for sure the series of events that led to this puppy being brought to our doorstep, we made the same commitment to him that we make to every dog that comes to Animal Aid Society; we would do everything in our power to place him with a family that would care for him and love him forever.
Echo was unphased by whatever he had been through. He was outgoing, confident, and loved everyone he met. With regular feedings, Echo put on weight, enthusiastically making up for lost time and missed meals. It wasn’t long before he was adopted. Echo continued to grow and this super-sized, rambunctious puppy proved to be more than the family could handle, so Echo was returned to our facility and the hunt for his happily-ever after continued.
That search ended in July of 2018, when the Jones Family came to meet Echo. We spoke with them about the feedback given by the first family that adopted him. As a family with two Great Danes already in the pack, they were very knowledgeable about the breed and working with Great Dane personalities. This was the family Echo needed. The adoption paperwork was signed and we watched Echo drive off into the sunset.
Sadly, in January of 2020 Echo’s family noticed he was becoming a bit more clumsy than usual. Echo’s legs just couldn’t hold him anymore and his feet would slide out when he wasn’t walking on carpet. In addition to his back legs giving out, his front legs began knuckling and tended to fold under when he would go to move them, especially when he would try to sit up. By mid February, Echo was no longer able to walk on his own. Unable to move unassisted, Echo couldn’t get outside in time to go to the bathroom and began to develop pressure sores that simply couldn’t heal.
Echo’s family, being familiar with the Great Dane breed, began to suspect he had Wobblers Syndrome, which was later confirmed by their vet and a neurologist.
Initially when Echo’s family spoke with his vet, the vet suggested possibly euthanizing him; however, Echo kept showing signs that he was trying to fight to walk again so they kept fighting with him. His will to get better was remarkably strong.
Echo’s family worked with his vet and neurologist to come up with a plan of treatment that would give Echo the best quality of life. Echo began steroid treatment to reduce the inflammation in hopes that it would reduce the pressure on Echo’s neck. He also started acupuncture and physical therapy! Within a week of starting the treatment plan Echo sat up on his own and then took his first unassisted steps in months! Needless to say, his family was overjoyed.
Since starting treatment for Wobblers Syndrome, Echo has gone from not being able to walk on his own and being covered in bed sores to being able to walk unassisted, get on to his favorite couch, get outside to go to the bathroom, and participate in small play sessions with his fur siblings.
Echo will never be 100%; however, with the love and support of his family he is able to walk again and live a very happy life filled with love.
Not only was Echo’s story a learning experience for his family, but through social media his family is able to provide support and awareness to others who may be going through the same thing. Though the disease can be a death sentence, his story can also bring hope to others.
The love and dedication the Jones Family have displayed for Echo is what we as rescue organizations strive for. Their adoption story is what we want for every dog we take in to our shelter and we believe we can achieve it. One adoption at a time.
Story submitted by Kelly Loer.
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