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Water therapy teaches Centre Co. puppy to walk

By: Lauren Hensley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A small litter of puppies was found unable to walk and one Centre County animal shelter is working with an animal hospital to help these tiny paws take some major steps.

Stuart and his brother Simon were rescued by Centre County PAWS. After a short time it was discovered the two dogs and their sister had some difficulties walking.

"Stuart's not very severely affected but he still has some problems using and coordinating motor function in both hind legs," said Dr. Bob Rider, a veterinarian with Metzger Animal Hospital.

This is where a progressive treatment offered by Metzger Animal Hospital comes in to help. Every week Stuart walks on an underwater treadmill to build up his muscles in his back legs and tiny paws.

"We can remove the adverse effects of gravity, at the same time there is a lot of drag in the water so we can build muscular strength and we can rebuild those neurological connections but we remove the ill effects of gravity," said Meredith White, certified canine rehab assistant.

White has been working with Stuart for the last six weeks. She said he has made some major progress.

"He is a very sprinted and intelligent dog, so he was charming right away but he was pretty weak when we first met him he struggled to walk, his endurance wasn't really good," White said.

Sessions are costly and the non-profit group Centre County PAWS picks up the tab.

"Our organization is funded solely by donations from the community the community is supportive of what we do. So when they see stories like Stuart's they are moved and they are often moved to donate and that is what we ask people to do. If you see good work being done please support us financially because we need you," said Lisa Bahr, with Centre County PAWS.

And the cost will continue as Stuart's got a long way to go. Vets recommend more sessions for the pup. They are hopeful with hard work and additional swim sessions, Stuart can live a full and happy life.

Both Stuart and Simon are looking for permanent homes. To learn more about the pups or for ways to help PAWS click here.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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