The Hope a Dog Can Give: Juno's Story
I wanted a poodle; I got a pit bull instead. Standing in the scant dog run at an NYC pound, a volunteer came out with a fawn colored 65lb, adult female Pit Bull mix that was far too regal to be homeless let alone on death row. The dog looked at me with desperation and hope while the volunteer calmly looked at me and said in her broken English, "You come here and save one, then it's hope for all the others." This was the dog I was meant to have, she found me.
Juno, named after the Roman goddess who protected women, was the best decision I ever made - I had a buddy, I was exercising, I was more responsible - I was a better person.
When Juno ruptured two discs in her back and the doctors said I could euthanize her or take a chance on surgery, what choice did I have?
She went through three grueling back surgeries but remained paralyzed in her back legs. Despite exercise, hydrotherapy and a wheelchair/doggy cart (which she seemed to find insulting) there were still no results. It was both physically and emotionally taxing on everyone involved to care for an eighty pound pit bull who couldn't walk. Yet it brought out such profound kindness in people; my mother would position Juno on her bed so the sun shining through the window would hit her. My boyfriend would hoist all eighty pounds of her at midnight so she could go to the bathroom outside and not have the indignity of soiling herself. My father would drive us to hydrotherapy at eight a.m. on a Saturday and adamantly proclaim that Juno would walk again.
After eight months of this I began to lose hope. Yet on a cold winter night after I hoisted her to urinate outside, she walked herself back indoors as though it was the most natural thing she could do. Remarkably and rather quickly her walking improved, soon to the point where she was back on a leash walking Manhattan with her pride restored.
Juno, now twelve years old, is still walking but extremely slowly and a bit palsied... but walking. Every single person who stops to pet her and comment on her funny little walk, beam when I tell them that she did not walk and now she does. Only her veterinarian remains confused as to why she is walking and will not accept the reason I am sure of - hope.
Hope in its purest, most desperate form. Hope in a pit bull on death row finding her way to a life of luxury and love. Hope in an old dog on her last legs making her walk. If this once forgotten dog at the pound taught me that every single hope we have is possible, imagine what that desperate, lonely, forgotten dog on death row could do for you? Right now, that dog is waiting for you... and hoping. Visit www.petfinder.org to find the animal that will change your world.
Story sent in by Susan Cava of New York, New York - Proudly owned by Miss Juno Maria Rosa Cava.