Almost 7 years ago, Wendy Schindler was scrolling through listings of adoptable pets on Petfinder.com when she came across an urgent post from a rescue in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Wendy was browsing through the list in an attempt to find a companion for her aging dog, Patrick, who was exhibiting signs of depression. With the hopes that a friend would pull Patrick out of the dumps, the plea from the Arkansas rescue was heard and a home was found for an 11-week old abandoned puppy named Thor. The little German Shepherd puppy, his brother and mother were deserted when their owners moved and left them behind.
Three months after Thor was adopted and came to live in Kansas City, he started to show lameness in his left front leg. The vets diagnosed Thor with Elbow Dysplasia and the beginning stages of Hip Dysplasia, so surgery was performed on his elbow and left hip. Hopeful that the surgery would help, Wendy never gave up. Early on, it was obvious that Thor showed signs of arthritis but it seemed mild and controllable.
One summer day in 2012, Wendy and Thor were outside playing a game of catch when Thor jumped to catch a ball and landed in obvious pain. Thor walked away from Wendy and his ball and he headed into the house, showing no more interest in playing or anything else. The next day, Thor was back to racing out the backdoor to play and everything seemed normal again. Sadly, that normalcy didn’t last long because as the afternoon progressed, Thor again showed lameness and pain in his rear leg. By the next morning, Thor was in extreme pain and he had lost control over his muscles from the middle of his back and throughout his left leg. The right leg tried to compensate and maintain control while the left lay unresponsive. Wendy scooped Thor up and headed to the vets office.
After x-rays and tests, the vets believed that the 6-year-old GSD had Degenerative Myleopathy, basically a death-sentence for a dog. Thor was placed on steroids, pain meds and Missing Link and he was sent back home with Wendy. For the next week, Thor stumbled through the house until Wendy took him to a specialist clinic in Overland Park, KS. An Orthopedic Surgeon and a Neurologist evaluated the dog and came to the conclusion that Thor had at some point, had a calcified disc that ruptured, causing a disruption of his sciatic nerve, which led to the loss of muscle control. With the new-found information, Wendy headed back to her vet and she discussed treatment options. Her vet believed that stem cell therapy would be Thor’s best option of returning back to normal. Wendy said,
“I have followed the progress of the “stem cell therapy” ever since Thor was just a baby and had to have operations for elbow and potential hip dysplasia. And our regular vet, Dr. Lawrence Kovac, had just become certified in one of the stem cell treatments.”I think this “therapy” is Thor’s best chance of getting more and continuous improvement. I know Dr. Kovac agrees.
Unfortunately, stem cell therapy doesn’t come cheap and it’s almost as difficult to locate a vet who performs it than it is to actually come up with the money for the procedure. Luckily, Thor’s veterinarian, Dr. Kovac with Northland Mobile Vet Clinic, was just certified to perform stem cell therapy. The cost of the procedure is around $2,000 which is a pretty large sum of money for anyone, let alone a person who isn’t working and is waiting on acceptance of their application for disability.
Thankfully, a wonderful non-profit in Kansas City has stepped in and offered assistance in raising funds for Thor’s treatment. Friends of KC Animals is a 501 (c)(3) that aims to help all animals in Kansas City, not just the ones in shelters or at rescues. Friends will be accepting donations on Wendy and Thor’s behalf and all donations received, will be tax-deductible. If you would like to donate, visit http://www.friendsofkcanimals.org/donate/ where you can donate with a debit or credit card or via a Paypal account. Just make sure that you state “Thor” in the memo section so the funds are earmarked for his surgery. Donations can also be made via U.S. mail to: Friends of KC Animals, 4741 Central Street, Kansas City, MO 64112.
Stay up-to-date with developing news on Thor via a dedicated Facebook page called “Thor’s Treatment Fund“. If you would like more information on Thor and Wendy, email the author of this story by clicking here.