It took many hands, but this happy guy is now ready for his forever home.
white dog with a grey ring around his right eye hit by car now walking with aid from some wheels
Credit: Courtesy of Cincinnati Animal CARE

A pit bull mix is getting a second chance at life thanks to a few generous volunteers and some amazing therapy.

Nokia was first brought into the Cincinnati Animal CARE shelter Oct. 3. He'd been hit by a car and had lost the use of his back legs. While his overall health improved, his hind legs remained largely non-functional and the shelter fitted him with a set of doggy wheels to help him get around. But that was when Nokia's story caught the eye of the good folks over at Doggie Paddles in Florence, Ky. Philip Roe, who co-owns Doggie Paddles with his wife, Jennifer Weber-Roe, saw the shelter's post about receiving Nokia after his accident and offered their services in the form of 10 hydrotherapy sessions on their underwater treadmill, free of charge.

Hydrotherapy is a useful treatment for hip and spinal injuries because it provides support and allows dogs to exercise their muscles while nerve regeneration or muscular repair is taking place. These types of injuries can make weight-bearing exercise difficult and pressure on joints and limbs may aggravate some conditions, so hydrotherapy can be used in these cases to allow the dog to exercise in an environment where there is minimal pressure on the affected areas.

"Underwater treadmills are commonly used in canine rehabilitation therapy as a form of hydrotherapy," says Jenna Stregowski, RVT and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. "They can help dogs build muscle tone and increase range of motion. The water reduces the amount of weight put in the joints so they don't have to support their own weight, but it also provides resistance to build muscle."

However, Weber-Roe admits she didn't have much hope after their first session.

"I was concerned," she says. "I'd worked with some paralyzed dogs before and they'd show at least some movement. But with Nokia, there was no sense of that. He didn't seem to respond at all."

But she continued to work with him. And by his third session, they started to see some progress. Weber-Roe says Nokia really started to turn a corner after Christmas.

"I was really surprised that he came as far and as quickly as he did," she says. "I really attribute that to the foster family who took him home for the holidays. They were able to really work with him. Instead of staying in a wheelchair, he was able to stand and be active for short periods of time."

Now, thanks to the patience and help of Doggy Paddles, Cincinnati Animal CARE, and its network of fosters and volunteers, Nokia is a happy, active dog who's able to move under his own power, run, and play fetch without any need of a wheelchair. And Weber-Roe says he's on the right track to leading a happy, healthy life.

"We're just building up that muscle," she says. "But he will get to the point where he's not going to need us anymore."

Now that the physical portion of Nokia's recovery is nearly done, the next challenge starts: finding this loveable boy a forever home. Though he's regained use of his legs, he's going to need a home that can give him a little extra patience and help when it comes to walking,  getting up and down stairs, and climbing on and off beds. But he's a sweet, happy boy who can't wait to find a family of his own.

"He's very functional," Weber-Roe says. "When he uses the bathroom, he needs a little help holding his balance, but he's got a normal life ahead of him."

As of Tuesday, Cincinnati Animal CARE says Nokia, who's about 8 years old, is still available for adoption, but they're hoping that won't be the case for much longer as word of his recovery and sweet face make their way around social media. And when he finally does find that special home to call his own, he'll have an active future ahead of him.