A cart dog road off with my heart.

A rescue that I volunteer for, recently had a situation where a younger dog was starting to experience what Jake went through when we first realized he had a spine issue. This dog started losing use of his legs and in a panic, the owner felt they were unable to care for the dog and they reached out to this rescue to take him. The rescue responded and started having discussions with the owner.  They told them they were absolutely open to taking the dog, and behind the scenes, a foster was being lined up. The owner was understandably upset – spine symptoms can hit suddenly and there was the added emotion of having to give the dog up. The rescue made sure the family knew there was no rush, they were there if/when the family needed them.

Before I continue, all I know about this situation is: the family had a dog, the dog suddenly started to have mobility issues, the family panicked and reached out to rescue, rescue suggested a few things the vet should try (pain medication to start), the family and rescue touched base every day for about a week.

Here is what I do not know: what the feedback was from the vet, updates on that were from the owner, but from what the rescue could tell, it sounded so much like what Jake went through and that pain meds were helping.

Instead of surrendering the dog to rescue, the family choose to put the dog down. They told the rescue after they put him down, not before, when the rescue could have pleaded.

When Jake and I came to be, I had no idea he would start to become paralyzed a year later. I only knew he ran funny, his back legs would go in a circular motion when he was running. I just assumed that was how Frenchies rolled. Jake’s paralysis was destiny. There was nothing his first family or his forever family could have done to prevent it. I often wonder if I would have adopted Jake knowing he’d be or if he already was, paralyzed. It’s a hypothetical not worth dwelling on, because similar to Jake’s paralysis, he and Melvin and I, were also destined to be. One way or another, he was to rescue us.

Able body Jake, the day we met him. photo[2]

The day Jake’s legs suddenly gave out, panic is not even close to what I felt. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I had no comprehension of all the terms the vet and neurologist were throwing out to me. I cried for so many different reasons. But the next day, we all got up, and we started figuring it out.

Wheels and diapers, check. IMG_1731IMG_4119

When I read the post that the family put the dog down, a lot of the air around me vanished. Everything started spinning and I had to sit down. My mind started going in so many directions. There was lack of comprehension and information. Grief showed up out of nowhere and gut punched me and my hands became desperate to reach for Jake again. To scream how grateful I was that his first family gave up on him before they had any sort of reason to put him down. The only thing worse than a life that is now without Jake, is a life that never knew him.


I don’t know this family’s story. I only know our story. Our story is about dog named Jake and the family that he made whole. When Jake’s legs gave out that winter morning, I am not the only one who panicked. Jake looked to both Melvin and I when his legs were swimming and Melvin was the first one to make it over to him. He used his nose and front paws to stand behind Jake and push on him so he wasn’t losing footing. I then picked him up. My little family at is absolute finest.


Caring for Jake was one of the hardest roles I’ve ever had. Frustration came knocking daily. Life threw a lot of obstacles in Jake’s way, but we said to every one of them:

Move bitch, get out da way“. (Ludacris)

Special needs dogs are not for everyone.  And that is ok. But they are absolutely for someone. Jake widened my patience. He taught me about resilience. He gave me the most incredible purpose. Every obstacle, was an opportunity to find solution. We never gave up.

He wasn’t broken, he was perfect.

My bond with Jake is strong and tough and fierce – forever.  I’m sad that family made the decision that they did, because that dog would have saved a person he was meant for. The same way Jake saved me.



12 thoughts on “A cart dog road off with my heart.

  1. “He wasn’t broken. He was perfect”. I love this. That family has no idea what they missed out on. RIP dear, sweet dog.

    • I wish I had 5 min with them to tell them that giving him up could have given him a chance that they were unable to give him (with no judgement on that).

  2. so sad for the poor dog with the leg issues. I would hope that a vet would intervene in the interest of the pet, but like you said you aren’t sure of exactly what happened. I was stunned when my own dog injured her leg and couldn’t walk, I panicked! Could barely call the vet office without misdialing and my speech was rapid fire to say the least. After a three grand fix, I slept on the floor near her willingly during recovery. I am amazed at the the lengths I would go and the money I would shell out, but that is nothing compared to the love I have for my sweet girl. Thank you for another moving post.

    • I love you. That so perfectly captures the moment something huge happens. When we found out about Jake, the neuro sat me down and told me what his life would be like. I said I could handle it and he sent us on our way and I said, wait, we are coming back regularly, right? He said no. That what was going to happen was going to happen. I have never felt so on my own and others might have said, shit, I can’t do this. And our neuro was great, we had his cell phone for emergencies but he was right, you have to accept you are on your own for what is to come. Neuros won’t come to live with you! I asked.

  3. When I got BabyCakes it was common practice to automatically put down a dog that had mobility issues. We worked to change that and to education people about the tools and help out there. It was so hard to talk to people who came to ask questions and then cry because they hadn’t known what was available and had put their dog to sleep at the suggestion of the vet. I’m so grateful to BabyCakes’ breeder who loved her and figured out how to help her and then found a home where she would continue to be loved and helped. This was pre-Google days! I’m sorry this family didn’t feel they could do that. Perhaps his condition deteriorated and he couldn’t be pain-free.

  4. I forgot to say the FBRN was totally committed to educating people and helping the dogs with issues. They worked with me and BabyCakes and made a HUGE difference for the disabled Frenchies out there.

    • That is Jake’s rescue! They were so helpful when I had questions about products and when we were looking for the wheelchair. Melvin and Jake’s Project Joy has donated a few wheelchairs to their fosters so they are (more) ready to go to their forever.

  5. I’m so sorry that this story had the ending it did. But we don’t know the whole situation, and life is complicated. As more people (vets and owners) learn what options – heck, that there ARE options – out there, the next family may make a different choice.

    We say the same about Habi and her behavioral issues: “how grateful I was that his first family gave up on him before they had any sort of reason to put him down. The only thing worse than a life that is now without Jake, is a life that never knew him.” (Except that we still have Habi, old and frail and now spinally-challenged as she is, and because of you and Jake, we are working with our vet through those issues.) Big hugs from Boise!

    • I agree with you, things like this happen so suddenly and it feels like there are no choices. It takes a little while to find the right network. Habi found her perfect forever. I know how it is when the day presents yet another problem and you just want to scream ‘uncle’. Someone asked me recently what I miss most about Jake, and there are a million things, but I answered back: his meatballs. There is no situation where a pet parent says, ‘gee, I hope my dog loses control of his bowel movements’. But laughing about his meatballs, provided a release for stress and a very unexpected reason for joy. xoxo

  6. He wasn’t a broken baby, how sad that this family never gave him a chance! RIP Lil Angel! 💔 🐶

    • I know. I can’t imagine the thought of having to give up a dog so that they can get better care than I am prepared to give. But that is the awesome thing about rescue. It’s not just for strays, it is to help connect the right dog, with the right family. xoxo

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