Earlier this year, McKamey Animal Center officers responded to a call after-hours about a small dog tethered in a back yard that had just been attacked by a large dog while the owners of the small dog were not home. MAC officers arrived on the scene and immediately transported the dog (now known as Union) to Animal Emergency & Specialty Center of Chattanooga.
The next morning, MAC's Veterinary Care Administrator Christy Ha received a call from the emergency veterinarian to say that Union was bitten on the back, suffered a broken vertebra and had lost feeling and use of of his back legs.
Union's owner then chose to surrender him to MAC.
MAC staff worked diligently to transport Union for treatment to help with inflammation and pain. Once Union had control over his body functions, even without the use of his back legs, MAC began the process of getting him a wheelchair and he began to thrive in his chair
"Everyone fell in love with Union, how could you not?" said Mindy Kolin, development director. Union was adopted once he became available, but after a few weeks his new owner made the difficult decision to return him, as his special needs were just too much for her and her family.
"Due to his very special situation I began personally handling the counseling for Union's adoption," said Ms. Ha. "I did not want to see him returned again - people could have seen a cute tiny dog in a wheelchair and thought they would love to have him, but might not have fully comprehended the amount of work it takes to care for a paralyzed animal. Ms. Ha turned down several applicants until she met Mrs. Allen.
"Before Mrs. Allen met with Union I told her all the hard stuff," said Ms. Ha. MAC offered to let her foster Union for seven days to make sure she could care for him as he needed, and was elated when two days into fostering Mrs. Allen called to say she wanted to finalize the adoption.
Today, Mr. & Mrs. Allen arrived at MAC to finalize Union's adoption and were thrilled to learn the adoption fee was paid for by Top This Roofer, a local roofing company who recently started sponsoring adoptions for animals with special needs and longtime residents of the Center.
"Congratulations, Union," staff members said.