Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Healing Story of Josh

With another day off work and a little bit of time, if you'd like to read a story get comfy and I'll continue telling you about our dogs and their story of rescue.

The dog that we've had nearly as long as Wendy is Josh who came to us in August of 2002.

He was only about 4 months old when he was hit by a car and found on the side of the road. A motorist passing by noticed him and took him to an animal emergency clinic. He was in shock, and x-rays showed that he had a fractured pelvis and his right front leg was broken. Time was critical because his leg needed to be operated on because it was broken near the growth plate. A "found report" was posted hoping that someone would come forward to claim this little boy, but no one did. Five days later, Josh was turned over to the Golden Retriever Rescue.

Somewhere during this time we were sent this black and white photo and asked by the rescue to foster him. At first I said "no" to taking him because about a month before we had the devastating loss of our 5 year old Golden to cancer, and that week we'd had another very difficult and sudden loss of a foster dog. I just felt that I had nothing left to give my own dogs, let alone one that needed extra care and attention. But "fate" had another idea, and somehow we ended up agreeing to take him.

I first saw "him" after the initial surgery on his front leg, and of course was immediately smitten by him! The cast on his leg was practically as big as he was and he had several patches where there was no hair from the tumble on the road when he was hit by the car. I named this "lost boy" Josh after the Tom Hanks character in the movie "Big" because he was such a young boy that suddenly had to grow up and find his way in the world. Josh had 2 more surgeries on his leg and there was a lot of doubt in the beginning about his being able to keep his leg. But luck remained on Josh's side and he came through it all just fine.

But we still had other hurdles to get over. After the recovery of his front leg was complete, we noticed that Josh would often scoot along the floor on his side to retrieve something instead of walking. X-rays were taken and they showed that his pelvis had small multiple fractures, and the larger fracture that we had thought would heal on its own, had not healed properly. Josh would need more surgery that would re-break his pelvis, put a plate in and then bilateral triple pelvic osteotomies would be done. Two surgeries, 3 weeks apart were done. The bottom line was that it was yet another 6 weeks of crate confinement for Josh.

The last round of surgeries were very painful for Josh. Any movement and he would yelp in pain. Carl and I found that what seemed to comfort him and lift his spirits the most was being with us. In the evenings we would take him out of his crate, and he would play a little, or just rest quietly next to us as we watched TV. We also took turns at night sleeping with him on a dog bed. He would snuggle up so close to us, and you could hear these little noises as he slept.

By the middle of November, Josh had made remarkable progress. He was feeling much better, and was able to stand while eating. However, Josh was still extremely unstable on his feet. He would slip very easily, and each step he took was slow, stiff and methodical. Because of Josh’s extensive time on “crate rest” his muscles had atrophied and he had very little strength and stamina. To improve this, Josh began swim therapy as a rehabilitative exercise that would provide him with the best chance to make a complete recovery. For the next 4 months we drove to an animal swim center about 40 minutes away from us 3 times a week. It was a lot of driving, but I was committed to Josh and his recovery. It all paid off because the differences the swimming made for him, both physically and emotionally, were indescribable! Everyone involved with Josh was thrilled!!!

By springtime Josh was fully recovered and was able to run and play and do all the "normal" things. But it also brought the job of trying to find a new home for him--That was the whole reason for fostering him, right? I'll spare you those details and just say that I didn't make much of an attempt to find someone for him. Each call I received I found a reason why they weren't the right family. We adopted Josh in April of 2003.

Today Josh is about 8 years old. There is still some visible evidence of his injuries. He is a very affectionate and extremely easy going boy that still loves to snuggle up very close to us. And when you ask him to show you his "owie," using his nose, he'll point to his front leg.

So much has happened since Josh first came to us and he is of course such an intricate part of our household. During this time the sting of the loss of our precious Golden Tod and Murphy our foster dog has eased. But looking back on it, I think that the noises that I used to hear at night when all was quiet and Josh was sleeping next to me, were the sounds of both of us healing.


  1. Yay for Josh!!!!!!

  2. What a beautiful post Kim, you write so well!

    I really enjoyed hearing the story of Josh, he's a beautiful boy who looks like a lanky teenager!

    Once again I find myself thinking what varying luck dogs get in life. Josh was so lucky to have found you and with that someone who was dedicated to help him recover whatever that involved.

    Can I make a request that soon we hear about (1) your first ever dog and (2) how you started rescuing dogs?


  3. What a sweet story about Josh. I'm so glad you adopted him. Poor thing has gone through so much pain, and surgeries, but now he looks so happy. I really enjoyed this heart-warming story. So thankful Josh has a loving family now.

  4. What an incredible story Kim. Josh-BIG, perfect name. He has been through so much and is truly blessed to have such a great Mom and Dad. Best of all, he gladly returned the favor (never a doubt). We never get tired of cruising your photo albums and seeing all those white faced seniors, so happy, K9 candles that briefly blaze, illuminating our lives. Don't know what I'd do without my Lady candle. She came along at just the right time too.

  5. Ah Kim, that was a read and a half hun, got a bit chocked up in the middle (as usual). Poor Josh had a rough start didn't he but I am so pleased you decided to keep him. He sounds a right character hun. Sue x

  6. Thankyou for sharing this very emotional story of how Josh came into your lives and his brave struggle.So beautifully written.

    Bellaboo :0)

  7. You guys are so awesome. We are glad Josh is in your family and that is so sweet that he knows how to point to his owie :)

  8. Things happen fur reasons...

    He knew he just needed to wear woo down!

    Thanks fur being there fur him to choose!


  9. Dear Kim
    Your beautiful story once again warmed our hearts.
    Even during the darkest of nights our hearts can heal.
    What a wonderful blessing for Josh that you came along to give him a chance at being loved. Isn't that the ultimate goal?
    As Josh's body was healing, your heart healed. It was like a little journey of healing when your two hearts collided.
    Thank you so much for sharing about giving ,,, when your heart is still broken and you think there is nothing to give.

  10. Our hearts have just melted, and we have happy tears! Ah! The big love from you all and the spirit Josh brings. Blessings.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  11. Beautifully written story about Josh. Thank you for sharing!
    You're a good lady!

  12. Kim,
    Beautifully written story of Josh.
    He is one lucky dog.
    I'm thinking the way you write a book deal may one day find you.
    I just love reading your blog and all the pictures are always great.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. what a sweetie & I love how you chose his name.
    Birthday photos of Sam up tomorrow !

  14. Beautiful! I loved reading this story of hope and love and healing. You could publish these stories! Josh is a sweet boy!
    I fed the sprouts to the chickens today and they ate them up.

  15. What a great story. And look at that face... who could not fall in love!!?
    - Anne

  16. The world is a better place because you're in it! Thanks for giving so much of yourself to animals in need.

    I have such admiration for people like you who share their hearts so unstintingly, and who don't take the easy road just because it's the easy road. You're an inspiration!

  17. That was beautiful He's a lucky boy to have found you. And you him!

  18. Just read your story about Josh.
    It is wonderful the love that you showed, and it was also pretty obvious that Josh was going to be yours.
    We cannot thank people like you enough for fostering these wonderful animals. It was just by chance (actually a gentle nudge by the BumpassHounds) that we came across your Blog when Cowboy went to the Bridge.
    We went back and read most of your posts, all we can say is you and your husband are our kind of people.

    Sheila & Bob

  19. another great story of one of your babies..........I love these stories Kim,

    Well done, you are such a special person.

    Gill in Canada

  20. What a gorgeous gorgeous story. He's such a handsome dog - and those ears are adorable - no wonder you couldn't have given him up and nor would he have wanted you too.

    My parents lost their alsation last year and my Mum has toyed with the idea of getting a rescue dog. Thankfully one of my sisters has been taking her to see them - because if I went I know I'd come home with a van load I'm sure!

  21. I love the story of Josh. So much like my own story - I can't help but get all choked up.


Speak--I really enjoy your comments! Thanks for stopping by today!!