Griswald arrived at the Albuquerque shelter so badly injured that shelter staff didn’t think he’d walk again and weren’t sure he’d live.

By Zach Cunning
April 15, 2021
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Griswald relaxing in his dog bed
Credit: Courtesy of Lori DeAnda

When Griswald arrived at Albuquerque Animal Welfare's shelter in late January, the staff weren't sure he'd make it after the 4-year-old pup had been shot numerous times with a BB gun and left in a ditch with a broken back.

About three months later, however, our pal has a new cart to help him walk and is loving life in his perfect forever home—where he's even causing a little playful trouble.

"I've been practicing 25 years and I've never seen such an amazing recovery from a dog with this type of spinal injury," says Deirdre Grinenko, a veterinarian at the shelter.  

According to her, Griswald arrived with his rear legs were paralyzed and one of his vertebrae was pushed so far out of alignment she thought his spinal cord might be severed.

The shelter gave him pain medication, some IV fluids, and supportive care. Grinenko says it was the sort of injury that usually isn't survivable unless the animal immediately gets to a neurosurgeon, and the shelter doesn't have those sorts of resources.

But Griswald wasn't going to give up that easy. 

A Remarkable Recovery

Just over a week after he arrived at the shelter, Griswald started showing voluntary movement in his hind legs, Grinenko says. Not long after that, he used his snout to push open the door to the outside portion of his kennel and, dragging his back legs at first, got himself outside.

Arline Gregoire, a volunteer in the shelter's clinic, started showing up daily to work with Griswald. "He was real wobbly," she says. He could only manage to walk about 10 yards initially.

They secured Griswald a K9 Cart through Kennel Kompadres, a donation fund for the Albuquerque shelter, at the end of February. The cart supports Griswald's back legs while he walks, and it helps rebuild some of the strength he lost because of his injuries.

"He was building up muscle and we took him everywhere," Gregoire says. Griswald "loved everyone he met."

When he was strong enough to get around a house without his cart, though he still needs it for longer walks, the shelter decided Griswald was ready for adoption.

Lori DeAnda had been looking for a dog for about six months when Griswald popped up in her daily email of adoptable dogs. "I saw his face and just fell in love with him," she tells Daily Paws.

Her husband, Victor, had a stroke in 2006 and was concerned about having a dog who might jump up and knock him over, she says. When she saw a picture of Griswald she thought, "Well, he's not going to be jumping."

On Saturday, she and Victor went to the shelter to meet Griswald, "and that's all it took," she says. They took him home the same day.

New Home, New Toy

Griswald fits right in at their home, she says, and just like most other dogs, he's a bit mischievous.

On Tuesday, after only a few days with his new family, DeAnda and Griswald had stepped into the garage. "Pretty soon he speeds past me," she says. The prankster pup had stolen one winter glove right off a nearby shelf. Since then, she says, the singular glove has become his go-to toy.

DeAnda says Griswald tucks his glove into his bed and, when he wants to play with it, he pulls it out and throws it in the air. "He's got other toys, but that glove is his favorite."

DeAnda says Griswald is "just the perfect dog" even after experiencing something so traumatic. She and Victor "plan to spend the rest of [Griswald's] life making up for the abuse he suffered."