Before Easter 2016, Melissa Mullamphy and her 5-year-old son, Luke, received horrifying news about their family’s best friend, Grizzly the mastiff. For unknown reasons, he suddenly became lame and was unable to do anything besides lie down.
One of our visits to Grizzy when he was in the hospital. He could not walk at this point, but we had a great visit. pic.twitter.com/qlhtE0JiBz
— Grizzy's Journey (@mastiffgriz) October 7, 2017
They took Grizzly to the vet’s office, where doctors diagnosed him with Wobbler’s disease, a condition that commonly affects the cervical spine in large-breed dogs. They told Melissa they had seen cases like Grizzly’s before and recommended putting the big guy down if he was unable to walk after four months.
4 months post op. pic.twitter.com/a0drG3Jbzc
— Grizzy's Journey (@mastiffgriz) August 18, 2017
This news devastated Melissa, but Luke took it even harder. Grizzly and Luke were inseparable. Even after Grizzly’s paralysis, you could always find Luke by his side. He would read to Grizzly, and he would get out of his bed in the middle of the night and sleep next to Grizzly in their living room.
Grizzly was a staple in this family, and Melissa knew she couldn’t give up on him. They tried surgery, and they were told that he would be able to walk immediately after. But sadly, Grizzly came out of the operating room on a gurney, still unable to walk. As they hit the four-month mark, Melissa got creative and found the Shaker Veterinary Hospital in Latham, New York.
The staff said they were willing to help Grizzly, but he would need to live there for a while. Veterinarian technician Jenn Wolfe said Grizzly was “probably the biggest case that we’ve ever taken on.”
“He was paralyzed. Not able to do much but lay on his side. As far as sitting, standing, getting up, he couldn’t do it,” she added in an interview with News10.
Progress was slow in the beginning, but the staff figured out how to make Grizzly work towards his recovery. In a Facebook video, Melissa said:
He wanted all the attention. So if he was in the rehab room and Jen and Kelly were not paying attention to him when they were in other treatment rooms, he wanted to know where they were. So I think that was another way Grizzy decided to help himself, because if he couldn’t get his head up above the door to see what was going on, then he was unhappy.
The methods used on Grizzly proved to be effective because nine long months after his initial diagnosis, Grizzly was able to walk again!
When it was time for Grizzly to come home, Melissa said: “When he saw us, he actually almost ran to the car. We were all crying.”
Now, thanks to the efforts of the staff at the Shaker Veterinary Hospital, this family got their best friend back. And it was all possible because Grizzly, and his family, refused to give up when all seemed lost. Congratulations, Grizzly!
Watch Grizzly’s incredible journey here: