Things That Matter

This Surfside Crisis-Response Dog Worked So Hard That He Lost His Ability To Move His Legs

Photo via Crisis Response Canines/Facebook

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida has left an entire community in mourning. As more bodies are found, victims, as well as their loved ones, are left wondering how something so tragic could happen. In the aftermath of the Surfside tragedy, crisis response dogs have been there to offer “psychological first aid” to victims and their families.

But now, one of those Surfside crisis response dogs, Teddy, is in need of help. After working a three-week stint at the Surfside condo collapse site, the 6-year-old dog’s legs stopped moving.

Teddy’s owner, Sophia Barrett, explained the details of the situation on his GoFundMe page. “Teddy, a crisis response dog from Philadelphia, has spent the past weeks working in Surfside, FL, providing psychological first aid to family and first responders dealing with the disaster there,” she wrote. “Sadly, on the morning of Wednesday July 14th, he woke up and quickly lost the ability to walk. X-rays revealed a possible herniated disk in his spine and potential torn ligaments in his knees.”

The veterinarians in charge of Teddy’s care said that all of the wear-and-tear of working on such uncertain terrain at Surfside took a toll on his body. “The Surfside dogs had a lot of stress, heat, additional weight on back,” said veterinarian Dr. Tonya Carswell to CBS 4.

As part of his recovery plan, Teddy is receiving physical therapy, laser therapy, and acupuncture treatments to help him get better. Doctors say that it looks like he’s on his way to a full recovery.

“I’m scared of him not being able to walk again,” said Barrett to CBS4. “He’s such an active dog…It would completely impact the quality of his life because that’s what he does.” “It breaks my heart having to see him go through this after everything he’s done for the community,” she added later.

To help with his medical bills and travel expenses, Barrett set up a GoFundMe page. But more than anything, she said, she needed a way to (safely) get him back to their home in Philadelphia. “The one big thing is having a plane charter to get him home because a commercial airline would not be safe for him,” she said. “As well as driving all the way to Philadelphia would not be safe.”

Luckily, a generous donor gave Teddy a ride home to Philly, free of cost, on a private plane.

Teddy’s GoFundMe page raised almost $50,000 before the Barrett closed the campaign for further donations on Wednesday.

“Thank you all for the overwhelming show of support for Teddy!” she wrote. At this point, since Teddy’s medical needs are more than met, we feel it’s only right to bring the GoFundMe fundraiser to a completion.” They then directed visitors to https://www.crisiscanines.org/ if they would still like to make a donation.

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