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How Much Would You Sacrifice for Your Dog?

Sometimes, your dog needs you more than you bargained for. Here are five inspiring tales of sacrifice from pet parents around the country.

 |  Nov 8th 2012  |   8 Contributions


Pet parenting in 2012 is quite the contrary of what it was 20 years ago. The sacrifices we make for our dogs are second nature to dog moms and dads. For those who form a bond with a dog, we would do anything and everything to ensure that dog's well-being, health, and happiness. Millions of pet parents give freely of themselves in the name of dog.

Here are some dog parents who have sacrificed a lot for their dogs. To them, it’s all for the love of their canine family members.

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How far would you go to help your dog?

Kiernan and Poppy

A disc rupture that paralyzed all four limbs of Cocker Spaniel Poppy might have held her back physically, but her spirit and determination, coupled with the love of dog mom Kim Kiernan, are the glue that holds this duo together.

“Even though she had emergency spinal surgery in December of 2010, she ended up needing a double laminectomy earlier this year,” Kiernan says. “It took her a month to move her tail, but to see her little nub move for the first time meant everything to me.”

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For love of her dog, Kim Kiernan gives her all to Poppy.

Despite what she calls insane expenses and a long road to recovery, she would never dream of putting her little girl down. “She is such a social butterfly and she never lost her spirit,” the proud mom reports. She traded her Honda Civic Hybrid for a Kia Optima so Poppy could have more powerful air conditioning. She invested in a car seat to keep Poppy supported and safe in the car, and she'll be traveling cross country with her mighty warrior from California to Connecticut for this writer’s “Wigglebutt Wedding” in June of 2013.

Poppy has some neurological deficits and has great difficulty emptying her bladder on her own, but Kiernan has learned to express Poppy's bladder to prevent urinary tract infections. Potty pads clipped to the bars of Poppy’s crate have been lifesavers, and this dedicated mom even purchased shoes for Poppy so she would not slip on wood floors.

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What, you never saw a Cocker Spaniel wear shoes?

Judy and Ricochet

A brilliant puppy full of promise, Ricochet was slated to become a service dog at the non-profit organization her mom founded, Puppy Prodigies. At 14 weeks old, Ricochet lost interest in the training, and despite Fridono's attempts at re-motivation, she knew it was time to move on. But she soon found her dog’s true calling -- on the beach.

"We were at the beach with a friend of ours who suffered a spinal cord injury when he was a child,” Fridono recalls. “He and Ricochet were surfing side by side on the same wave, and all of a sudden, Ricochet jumped off her board and onto our friend’s board. She was born again that day, and I saw just how excited she was to surf with him.”

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Four paws up, Surf Dog Ricochet has touched the lives of many.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Puppy Prodigies has been a platform for Ricochet to raise funds and awareness for human and animal causes, raising over $270,000 to date. She has been nominated for a Hero Dog Award and has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Betty White. “She has over 112,000 fans on Facebook and has touched so many lives,” Fridono says. The most extreme thing she has done for her dog? “Allowing her to choose her own life purpose.”

With more than four million views on her YouTube video, Surf Dog Ricochet has no plans of slowing down:

Susan and Binx

Dogs changing lives seemed to be a common thread in researching this piece. Susan Ambridge deals with her own disabilities, and her dog, Binx, is there for her every step of the way. "Life doesn't end when disability begins," Ambridge shares.

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Binx and his mom, Susan Ambridge, share a special bond.

Binx has had a lot of health problems, too. There were times when the Shetland Sheepdog was seeing the vet weekly for allergies and problems from anesthesia during surgery. “No matter what I had to do, there was no way I was giving up on him, no matter what anyone said,” she says. The little guy is coming along, and the bond between the two and her commitment to her dog is something that will never be broken.

Rebecca and Finn

Often great sacrifices are made for dogs who have not shared our lives for very long. Rebecca Braglio knows this all too well, as a dog she recently fostered (after he was found wandering the streets of north Philadelphia) wiggled his way into her heart.

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Finn found his way to Rebecca Braglio's heart.

“He was so incredibly matted, you could hardly see his face. His nails were so long, it made it difficult to walk,” Braglio shares. “He had 15 teeth pulled today and it was one of the worst cases the veterinarian had ever seen of teeth issues.”

A former criminal defense lawyer, she founded ThePhillyDog.com in 2009 and never looked back. Finn is house-trained and walks well on a leash, leading Braglio to believe he was once someone’s house pet. “I think I’m a failed foster parent,” she says.

Roxanne and Lilly

What would you do if your dog had a neurological and near-fatal reaction to a rabies vaccine? After all, when our dogs are vaccinated against rabies, we put our faith and trust in modern medicine, believing the vaccine is “safe” and that what we are doing is in the best interest of our beloved dogs. Roxanne Hawn thought this, too.

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Lilly has suffered an adverse life-threatening reaction to a rabies vaccine.

Hawn’s dog, Lilly, suffered a severe reaction (to put it mildly) to the rabies vaccine, and as of this writing she has amassed nearly $17,000 in veterinary bills to treat her dog’s resulting health problems.

“The only real important thing to remember is that her prognosis before the major relapse in August was good. Now, it's unknown. There is a good chance we could still lose her,” Hawn says. She chronicles Lilly’s issues on her blog, Champion of My Heart. It is raw, honest, and heartbreaking. If people ever question the love between pet parents and their dogs, her journey should change their mind.

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How far would you go to ensure your dog's well being?

What might seem like a sacrifice to some is purely second nature to others. Weigh in, Dogster readers. What is the biggest sacrifice you have made or would make for your dog?

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