When a four-week-old german shepherd cross puppy was found near a dumpster on August 21, 2021, she was covered in feces, infested with roundworms and was unable to stand or walk. She was taken to the Guardian Veterinary Centre where she was treated and diagnosed with ‘swimmer syndrome’, an uncommon developmental deformity that leaves newborn puppies unable to stand or walk. The following day she was transferred to the Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC) for further care.
Scuba on arrival to ACCC
Animal Control Officer, Heather Peters was one of the first officers to see her when she arrived.
“When I first saw her, she was lying flat like a starfish with all her legs pushed out at 90-degree angles and clearly couldn’t stand,” said Peters. “At that moment, I recalled a story I had read of a rottweiler puppy with the same condition who was successfully rehabilitated.”
Peters asked the ACCC medical team for permission to take the puppy home with her to see if any of the techniques she had read about could be successfully implemented to get the puppy to bear weight on her legs and eventually walk.
Scuba’s first week
“I didn't want to hold out hope I could help her but I knew she deserved a chance to see if the therapies I had read about would work,” said Peters.
Peters named her Scuba. She brought her home and began helping her build muscle tone in her legs.
“I kept her legs hobbled and utilized a small harness to support her attempts to walk,” said Peters. “We did daily muscle-building exercises with her by swimming in the bathtub where she gradually started using her back legs more and more. After a few days of these exercises, she suddenly was standing in her pen. I then started taking her outside and she started taking a few wobbly steps.”
Today, through Infinite Woofs Animal Rescue Society, Scuba has become a permanent addition to Heather’s family where she continues to help her gain strength. Scuba plays regularly with Peters’ Havanese named Fresca who regards her as her new bestie.
Scuba (with Heather Peters) September 22-23, 2021
Pet licence fees are an affordable requirement for owning a pet in Edmonton. These fees help provide food, shelter, medical care and enrichment for more than 6,000 lost pets and strays each year. They also help financially support local rescues and shelters and help fund low-income spay/neuter programs.
The City of Edmonton is proud to support local animal rescues including our partner rescue agency, the Edmonton Humane Society. Before animals are transferred to a rescue for adoption, the City’s Animal Care & Control Centre provides them with vaccinations, veterinarian care, spaying/neutering and first-aid treatment when required before they are transferred to an animal rescue or shelter.
For more information, visit edmonton.ca/pets.