From the Director: Zero to Hero

Sunday, May 18th, was Zero's fourth birthday . . . it was also the day his owner surrendered him to the Sighthound Underground. After dealing with thousands of dollars of surgery, weeks of a dog in pain and dragging around a cast nearly as big as he is, Zero's owner knew it was time to ask for help.


Zero during a vet visit, being brave.
Zero during a vet visit, being brave.

So on that lovely spring morning, she brought him to us.


From the moment I met Zero, I knew he was a special boy. Not only is he ridiculously handsome, but despite his pain and confusion, he is still a very happy dog. He loves to be petted and will wave a paw at you beseechingly when you stop for a moment. How could one possibly say no to those big brown eyes!


After speaking with Zero's owner, I knew it wouldn't be easy. The financial burden was eclipsed by the emotional needs of a dog on complete activity restriction for at least eight weeks. But after meeting Zero, I knew he was worth it.


Every vet visit--and there were many!--just underscored the Hero in Zero. His plaster cast caused pressure sores. We changed it every three days and started experimenting with different types of padding and styles of wrapping.


Getting the pressure sores to heal proved challenging.
Getting the pressure sores to heal proved challenging.

There are just limited ways you can immobilize a dog's entire leg without causing pressure points. The solution ended up being a green foam donut wrapped around his hock (what would be the ankle bone on a human). Now, after a month, the horrible pressure wounds are finally healing.


Last week, after two months in a hard plaster cast, Zero finally graduated to a softer wrap. He's now allowed to put some weight on his leg but still no stairs or furniture. Zero hasn't touched grass in months. (And my deck--where he's been doing his "business"--may never be the same.)


But Zero is off his strong antibiotics to prevent infections in those awful pressure wounds, although he still presents himself every morning for a piece of cheese. He doesn't know there isn't a pill in there anymore and I'm fairly sure he doesn't care.


Bandaging the leg. Again.
Bandaging the leg. Again.

The end is now in sight. Three more weeks in the soft bandage and we will take another set of x-rays and figure out where to go from there. Zero may have to deal with a wrap or a splint a little longer or he may get the all clear to start rehab.


Once we get the go-ahead, we'll start him on swim therapy to strengthen the leg. After that, he'll be available for adoption!


I guarantee that whatever the coming weeks hold for this sweet boy, he will face it with bright eyes and a wagging tail. Zero may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he's definitely a hero as far as we're concerned.


If you're interested in donating toward Zero's continuing vet expenses, you can use the "donate" button on this page or on our homepage.

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2 thoughts on “From the Director: Zero to Hero
  1. God bless you for what you do for Zero and for all of the pets. What a love! How many pounds is Zero? We have a small chihuahua mix (we think jack russell) who is about 10 pounds and not too friendly with other dogs.. He lost his companion in February, a blue tick/beagle mix, 70 pounds in February and he does miss her. Also not sure we are ready for another pup as my husband and I took Blue’s death pretty hard.
    Just wanted to know how big he is and I will be donating on your homepage.