Service dog River, a three-year old lab mix, is in need of expensive surgery to get her mobility back and to be able to help her owner with her needs. Florida Today
River¬†misses walking and running with friends¬†at Wickham Park.
The 3-year-old Lab mix misses chasing lures and¬†going to her training classes.
Perhaps most important, leg problems keep¬†River, a much-loved¬†service dog, from doing what she does willingly and happily¬†‚ÄĒ helping her owner,¬†Holly Leathley-Andrew of Melbourne, as needed.
“Most of all she loved to help her mommy,” Leathley-Andrew wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help River.¬†
Leathley-Andrew, 29, who works for Brevard Aid to Animals in Melbourne, rescued River, then a puppy, from owners no longer able to take care of her.
River helps her with balance, brings her meds when she is about to get a migraine, helps with her overactive nerves in her legs and helps her carry things.
Now, River needs even more help.
Veterinarian Dr.¬†Jeffrey¬†Christiansen of Aloha Pet & Bird Hospital has confirmed that the dog¬†should have¬†surgery on one of her legs and, if that goes well, on the other leg, too.¬†Each surgery could run around $3,000.¬†
‚ÄúRiver has what is called a CCL or cranial cruciate ligament rupture, in both of her knees, similar to the ACL in humans,” Christiansen said.
With any surgery, he said, there will also be the cost of medications, possible stem cell therapy in an effort¬†to help avoid arthritis, bone grafts¬†that can help in healing and more.
But while activities have slowed for Leathley-Andrew¬†and her furry friend, they¬†share a lot of love and history.
After several months of trying to get River¬†adopted¬† once she rescued the dog,¬†and placements which didn’t work out,¬†Leathley-Andrew took River back into her home. She and River came to realize that they “were meant to be together,” Leathley-Andrew¬†said¬†‚ÄĒ¬†and it just so happened¬†that she¬†was looking for a Lab to train as a service animal.
River has been to¬†puppy training classes and¬†novice training, done advanced work with scents and more.
It seemed River “wanted the role of becoming a service dog,” said¬†Leathley-Andrew. The¬†Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA,¬†does not require a license to consider a trained dog a service dog, she added, and no¬†specific registry is appointed by the ADA.
Now,¬†River brings Leathley-Andrew¬†her migraine medicine¬†even before she feels a headache coming on. The dog will nudge or bark¬†to get her owner’s attention when she senses it’s needed and¬†helps her with her balance. River also¬†can carry¬†needed¬†belongings in¬†a special service dog pouch, since it’s hard for Leathley-Andrew to tolerate the weight of a purse.
Her canine companion is struggling to walk, Leathley-Andrew said, and it’s even hard for the dog to climb on the bed for “bedtime snuggles.”
‘It has been very difficult watching my baby go through so much pain and I would give her the world if I could,” Leathley-Andrew said.
To donate to Project River Run:¬†gofundme.com/Projectriverrun
Manderville is a community content specialist at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Manderville at 321-242-3614 or email@example.com. Twitter: @lumanderville
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