In November 2012, my Golden Retriever Nugget (over 85 lbs. in weight) started showing signs of visible pain and discomfort while trying to get up and move around. He slowly stopped going on walks, then stopped walking inside the house getting up only to go outside to relieve himself, and finally one day he lost use of his hind legs wherein he could not stand up at all to relieve his bladder or bowels. At this point, Nugget had zero mobility.
Once Nugget was completely down, my initial reaction was of complete despair and I looked desperately for an easy fix. There was none. Winter had set in, temperatures had begun to tumble in the Chicago area and I had to slowly resign myself to the hard task of carrying Nugget in and out of the house for all his daily functions and visits to the vet. We started Nugget’s treatment off with our regular vet. Their diagnosis was Arthritis, and two bad ACL’s which was completely off the mark and to top it their handling of Nugget was terrible. They recommended us to go to the animal emergency clinic of Mchenry County (AEMC). This was a place I dreaded not because it was bad but because I had lost my previous child, Duke to liver cancer 3 years back and he was operated upon in that facility. I had memories of a bad ending that would never go away.
The orthopedic surgeon at AEMC recommended total hip replacement. He also wanted to get Nugget checked for myasthenia gravis as he had some suspicion of a neurological disorder. We proceeded with the neurological tests which came back negative and in the meantime Nugget’s condition deteriorated even more. We were asked to take Nugget to the Specialty Vet Hospital in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. At the specialty clinic Nugget went through all tests which included ultrasound, full body MRI and a biopsy for a small mass in his spleen. At the end of a harrowing day in which Nugget’s blood pressure shot to above 200 under anesthesia, we did not have any diagnosis except that Nugget may have cancer of the spleen. We were completely devastated. It was déjà vu all over again and I was certainly not mentally prepared for this situation.
At this time, Nugget needed to be carried out on his bed outside and my wife would place her hands below his two hind paws so that they would move and he would be able to crawl using the strength of his front legs. He would urinate and defecate sitting and we would clean him up out in the cold and carry him back in on his bed. This was the routine several times a day. In this difficult endeavor, we were supported only by our dog walker, friend, and optimist-in-chief Julie Kaufman.
Nugget’s MRI showed he had bulges in his spine but the doctors at the specialty vet clinic had earlier ruled out as the cause of his condition. Our animal communicator, Hope, recommended a certified massage therapist, Erin Kowalski to come to our home and start giving Nugget massages a few times a week. In the coming weeks, Erin’s efforts allowed Nugget to relax his overused front legs and chest muscles and provided the right conditioning for his hind leg muscles that had completely atrophied. Hope also recommended that we take a long trip to Chicago to see Dr. Barbara Royal, a renowned vet who practices both conventional and holistic medicine. This recommendation turned out to be the clincher.
Dr. Royal confirmed that the bulging disc was the root cause of Nugget’s inability to get up. Along with allopathic medications, she gave several homeopathic and herbal medications and asked us to pursue hydrotherapy, cold laser therapy and acupuncture for Nugget at AEMC. She coordinated Nugget’s physical therapy treatment plan with the Dr. Karen Turner at AEMC and soon Nugget was on a 4 times a week physical therapy regimen. In the meantime, we scheduled an appointment with John Newton an energy healer based off in California. We were simply blown away by the power of his long distance energy healing work on all 3 of us. Nugget in fact fell asleep as John was working on him and we could see various muscles in his back twitch as John continued his energy work. It was an amazing experience.
Between November 2012 and January 2013, we continued all the recommended treatments and kept our spirits high in spite of great difficulties. As I look back, I am amazed at how we were able to summon the guts to go through this traumatic and heart wrenching experience. However, we did not lose hope or faith and asked as many people as possible to pray for us and our beloved Nugget. Finally on the night of 11th January 2013, Nugget stood up on his four legs and urinated. The following morning, he bent his hind legs and defecated standing up. There are no words to describe the emotion my wife and I felt on that day. It had been roughly 2 months since we had seen Nugget standing. It was a miracle. When we started on our journey, nobody believed that this day would come. Everyone had their own doubts and theories but in our hearts we believed that this day would arrive and this belief was reinforced by the angels in our life – Julie, Erin, Hope, Linda and Dr. Royal.
As I write this, Nugget continues to amaze us every day with his progress and resolve to get back to normal. On February 5th we left him alone for half a day for the first time in 3 months with Julie visiting him during the morning hours, as was the routine when Nugget was healthy. It was an emotional moment for all of us and Julie broke into tears during her visit. We were now able to comprehend the magnitude of the miracle in front of us. The very next day Nugget climbed wooden stairs to get into the back of our SUV. For the past 3 months we had been lifting him and his bed into the SUV to take him around for his appointments. It was a BIG day for us. In the meantime, Nugget has crossed milestone after milestone in his therapy. He no longer knuckles. He does not need a lifejacket during his hydrotherapy. He does not lean on the walls during his underwater treadmill sessions. He has walked for close to half an hour under water. He can climb ramps, walk on stone and gravel and wants to play with his toys in the snow. He continues to show new facets of the miracle that he is every day, every moment.
This incident and testimonial should give hope and faith to those people who love their pets immensely and are facing the same difficult situation that we have faced. All I can say to them, is to not lose faith and to never for a moment think that your pet needs to be put down. As Nugget has shown us, a little care and hard work can go a long way towards full recovery. There is absolutely no reason to despair however bad the situation may seem.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that this happy end would not have come about without the help of the angels mentioned in this testimonial. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of them individually below:
There are no words in any language that will do justice to the sense of gratitude my wife and I owe to the people mentioned below. Any attempt to capture their large heartedness is like trying to describe the brightness of the sun using the light of a lamp as an analogy.
- Julie Kaufman – Thank you for being there for us and Nugget every single day and night. Thank you for patiently standing by us in our darkest hour. Thank you for being our cheerleader and showing me that there is so much joy in being positive however bad the situation may be. You are the kindest, most down to earth soul I have come across in my life. May every pet owner who loves their pet as much as we do Nugget find you as their dog walker and friend. Look up Julie at HTTP://WWW.JULIEONTHESPOT.NET
- Hope Black – Thank you for being the captain of Team Nugget. Without your help, insight, motivation, strength, we would have never overcome this challenge. From recommending the right vet to pinpointing the right diagnosis, you were the embodiment of Nugget’s guardian angel. Thank you for your words of wisdom, for lighting our path, for showing us the way. You understand animals, you speak their language, you read their thoughts, and you have the will to see everything to its logical end. You are mental strength and courage personified. Look up Hope at HTTP://MAKING-THE-CONNECTION.NET/
- Linda Epstein – You are our first guardian angel. Thank you for all the love, visits, and advice over the past 6 years. I cannot count the number of times we have called you and asked for help. You were with us when Duke passed away, you were with us the day we got Nugget and you are still with us every day, every moment. Nobody can ask anything more from a friend, philosopher, and guide. We only wish and pray that our association with you continues forever. You were the first person to sense the heat in Nugget’s back and it allowed us to keep focused on the real problem. You and Hope have given Nugget a second life. Look up Linda at HTTP://LINDAEPSTEIN.BLOGSPOT.COM/
- Erin Kowalski – Thank you for helping Nugget when he needed it the most. You helped stabilize him when he was getting by only on the strength of his front legs and chest. Thank you for patiently listening to all that I had to say and share during these difficult times. Thank you helping Nugget relax and sleep during his most difficult days. Thank you for being a true friend. Thank you for being the large hearted person that you are. Look up Erin at HTTP://WWW.ERINKOWALSKI.COM/
- Dr. Barbara Royal – Dr. Royal, I wish every needy pet in this world could be your patient. There are regular vets, specialist vets and then you…. in a class of your own. Every pet owner who has lost hope should make the pilgrimage to your clinic in Chicago. At this point, I am really at a loss of words to type. All I can say with folded hands is one teary eyed thank you. Look up Dr. Royal at HTTP://WWW.ROYALTREATMENTVETERINARYCENTER.COM/
- Dr. Karen Turner, Jessica and Jennifer at AEMC – Your herculean efforts have made this day possible. Your compassion is unparalleled. We were always at peace knowing that Nugget was under your care and supervision. AEMC is an amazing place because of professionals and kind hearted souls like you. We are very fortunate to have you in our lives and in Mchenry County. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and the core of our souls. Look up the amazing practitioners of AEMC at HTTP://WWW.AEMC911.COM/
- Colette Baron-Reid – Thank you Colette for introducing us to Hope. It made all the difference to the final outcome. You are an amazing person. It is our good fortune to have you in our lives. It is truly a blessing to have met and interacted with you in person. Colette needs no introduction but she can be found at HTTP://COLETTEBARONREID.COM/
- John Newton – Thank you showing us the power of healing. I can only say that one needs to experience your gift. It cannot be described. It can only be felt. I hope that you continue to transform the lives of countless people as you have done with us. John Newton can be found at HTTP://HEALTHBEYONDBELIEF.COM/
FINALLY….. HERE IS A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FROM NUGGET