In those first crucial hours, as he remained unconscious in an oxygen tent with a bruised heart, punctured lungs, and his entire pelvis crushed, I posted an entry on my blog while still at the emergency room, asking the world to pray for us, or send white light or good energy - or whatever they could, and they did. A wave of concerned strangers rushed to our aid...which got us through the night.
He was still bad shape. His lower body was paralyzed at first. Couldn't stand. He slept in a crib with pee pads under him and we had to give him water with an eyedropper. Once he was able to sit up, we would cart him around in a laundry tub.We were told he probably wouldn't walk again. I began researching wheelchairs. Then they thought they might have to amputate the one leg that was particularly bad. Nothing doing. I told them he needed that leg, because he was going to walk again if I had anything to do with it.
Veterinary Surgical Specialists who had to operate twice on Wally AND deal with me - who was, in a word...hysterical. Second miracle, a wonderful Physical Therapist, Dr. Julia at TCARC. She put him on the underwater treadmill (video here) and gave me vitamin and mineral supplements. Third Miracle was my mom, who helped me every step of the way, tirelessly. Lastly, most spectacularly, were the strangers from all over the globe who sent us care packages and prayers and messages of hope on his blog.
So now, a year later, Walter is alive and well. He can walk, with the aid of a shoe.The nerves were severed there and he can no longer feel his foot, so he "knuckles," walking on the dorsal side rather than on his pads.
The vet said it was important to keep his foot in the correct position, in hopes the nerves would keep growing and reconnect. So he had to wear a shoe. She gave me several shoes to try, all hand made for Walter by various dog shoe companies...but they all hurt his foot. Ground it up like hamburger. They held his foot correctly, but were made with hard leather and metal grommets. I tried bigger, shoes, different brands - but they all hurt him. Every night his foot would be bloody and swollen, until I couldn't take it anymore.
Finally I was up north at a cabin, when I asked an old-timer, a trail guide with"McGyver"type know-how named Harry, what the heck he would try. He looked at Walter's shoe and said, "What you need, is a moccasin."
That's when I remembered my beloved pair of Uggs. Soft, fleecey and no hard spots. Brilliant! A trip to a local trappers establishment and I learned if I made my pug ugg out of a water animal, like otter, beaver or mink, it would stay soft when it got wet. Also, if I used deer hide for the sole, instead of cow, it would also be pliable.
Then I remembered there was a nearby reservation, and I actually found a woman who made Ojibwa moccasins - the REAL ones. She spoke no English but showed me how to cut the pelts and stitch them. (I don't know what she thought of me or my project...she never asked (nor could she due to language barrier) why I was making a single, tiny shoe.) I learned that otter, the pelt I'd chosen because it was thick, but with short hair, was "big medicine" in native culture and should be respected immensely, which I did and still do.
My first otter pelt Pug Ugg was a simplistic hackneyed attempt, but I noticed the improvement in Walters foot immediately. The swelling went down and the hot spots went away. No more epsom salt soaks, or bacitracin!! After that, I was a shoe-machine. Making a new prototype every week until I perfected (relative) the technique.
Finally his foot went back to a somewhat normal size. It suffered so many abrasions and damage from the vets shoe, that it has permanent scarring. I don't care though, Walter isn't in pain anymore! And we found a new shoe to introduce to the world. I share the template for my beloved Pug Ugg with you here, in the hopes it will help other dogs. (and cats? Rabbits maybe...) If ANY good can come out of Walters ordeal, it would be a blessing.