Adopted Dog Finds a Unique Connection
In sickness and in health, Elizabeth and Brodie supported each other’s healing.
Elizabeth + Brodie
When Elizabeth and her family adopted Brodie, they had no idea that health crises were on the horizon. Brodie supported Elizabeth through her ordeal — then, when Brodie got sick, his family was by his side to make sure he got the very best care.
"He brought joy and comfort not just to me, but to the staff, the doctors, and so many of the patients. He was never trained as a therapy dog, but he was instinctively gentle."
We adopted Brodie (FKA Bogey) in November of 2015 from a picture on the Labs4Rescue site and picked him up off transport two weeks later on December 12. We were all in love instantly!
One year after Brodie’s adoption, I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. I was paralyzed in my legs and arms and very, very sick. I was diagnosed relatively quickly and started on IVIG — human immunoglobulin — which can help to halt progression. After a week, when I finished the IVIG infusions, I was moved to an Acute Rehab. My husband met me
there, and the first thing he saw was that our dog could visit me! The very next day, Brodie came for his first visit.
I was in this facility for 30 days, and Brodie came almost every day. I’d start to hear from down the hall, “Brodie, oh hi Brodie!” He’d come into my room and leap up and lay on me. It brought me so much comfort, I am not sure I can ever really explain it. Even now, two and a half years later, writing about it, I am in tears.
He brought joy and comfort not just to me, but to the staff, the doctors, and so many of the patients. He was never trained as a therapy dog but he was instinctively gentle. Just feeling him laying on me, being able to kiss his head and rub his fur, I think helped me in my healing process. My husband said after a couple of days, he was pretty sure he could have let Brodie run free and he would know right where I was.
Fast forward, and 48 days after going to the ER in an ambulance, I was brought home, still in a
wheelchair, unable to walk. Brodie became my chief protector. If I was on the bed, he would be on the bed with me. If I was in the wheelchair, he guarded me. As I re-learned to stand, then walk, he was so careful of me. He completely knew Mom was sick, and he was there to help.
Two years later my husband was playing ball with Brodie when our dog went down hard with an awful scream. We raced to the emergency vet. Of course, because he’s my dog, it had to be something weird. Brodie suffered a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism — FCE for short. His left hind leg was totally paralyzed. Brodie’s therapy is remarkably like everything I had to do. We both have to re-awaken nerves and re-train our brains to signal how to walk.
Dogs are remarkable. Brodie doesn’t know something is wrong. He has adjusted beautifully and is still his happy self. We can all learn a lesson from them. I know sometimes I look at him as he drags his foot, and I say, “It’s okay Brodie, my foot drags when I am tired too.” So, we just keep plugging along, quite the pair, as we go off for our walks!
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Elizabeth won Labs4Rescue, Inc. in Killingworth, Connecticut a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.