When Leroy Brown came to us, he was in dreadful pain from a disc injury high on his spine in his neck. One of our volunteers drove down from Wisconsin to Missouri one sunny day in September to fetch him to a foster home with veterinary tech experience and not far from the University of Wisconsin's vet school in Madison.
Here are a series of photos of Leroy Brown from his first days with her through his recent adoption, and the text is made up of a number of his foster mom's emails to us, keeping the other volunteers up to date on his progress. His progress and surgery were made possible by your donations and by our volunteers' dedication and love.
"...I do think that he may have some slight dog aggression but I am hoping that when he feels better and with some reassurance he can get past that. When I am not able to monitor what goes on I put him in his x-pen. Tonight for instance though he laid in the kitchen with my husband and I while we ate dinner. I gated it off so that he was not bothered by the other dogs. After that he laid on the couch with me while I watched dancing with the stars and now he is with me in the computer room. He is really a sweet dog and it is neat to start noticing him recognizing me. He really wags that little tail! These are just some pictures of him in the x-pen in the living room. All of the dogs of course surround him and in the pen he shows no aggression. Which I thought was a good sign so it does n't seem to be cage aggression. I really hope that this little guy makes a full recovery and gets the chance at a life that was taken away from him his first 3 years!"
A few days later we got another note:
"I took Leroy Brown (cutest frog in the whole darn town) to work with me today and he was a perfect gentleman. We did some x rays and are waiting on some blood tests to come back. The x-rays unfortunately didn't reveal a definite problem. As I know with many cases sometimes it is hard to see a disc problem on a plain x-ray. The doctor said that not having full use of his front legs at all times is an indication that it would be in the neck. In his case, when you knuckle his feet the only one that he corrects or knows that it is being done to, is his left front. All of the others we had to correct for him. He said that his right side is worse than the left. As of right now we don't have any definite answers. The way that he is currently being treated should show some improvement throughout the weekend. We did change his steroid(anti-inflammatory) from Prednisone to Dexamethazone. He said that he has seen better results with this type of condition. If he doesn't seem to improve over the weekend then he might require seeing a neurologist and have some more extensive testing. So let's keep our fingers crossed and say a prayer for this poor sweet boy.
"On a better note he has good times too. He is eating very well for me and taking his meds orally. He thinks that Canidae canned food is pretty yummy! I also spoiled him with baby food today at work and I couldn't get it out of the jar fast enough. He is drinking water, not as much as I would expect being on steroids but he is not dehydrated. I do have to hold him up and hand feed him because it is very apparent that leaning over to eat is painful. I did sleep on the floor with him last night because he seemed much more comfortable there. We took potty breaks ever 4-5 hours and then went happily back to sleep. This morning we did move back to the bed and I was covered in dogs. He seems to get along well with others. He will let out a growl if someone invades his space or licks his face, but I think in his case he is in pain and just wants to be left alone. Amazingly, all of my dogs seem to sense that and pretty much leave him alone.
"Overall, he is wonderful and really loves to be with you at all times. Hence the carrying from room to room. I might suffer from a bad back myself when this is all over."
When Leroy's condition didn't improve as much as we hoped it would, we made an appointment to see the neurologist at the University of Wisconsin vet school.
"After some consideration it has been decided that Leroy should see a neurologist. So I am taking him to the University of Madison, Wisc. tomorrow. We have an appt. at 830am which means I will be on the road bright and early. Madison is only about an hour and fifteen minutes away from me and a rather nice drive. We will see what the doc has to say and go from there. I truly hope and pray that there is something that can be done to take his pain away. I can only imagine being in the amount of pain that he is and still have a zest for life, food and a good snuggle. I will give him many kisses from all of you and will keep you posted with the results of our trip. Cross your fingers and say a little prayer."
After his surgery we received this update:
"All of those thoughts and prayers must be working their magic because Leroy is doing even better today. They said that he is up and walking around which I think is pretty good considering what he has just been through. He ate like a champ this morning and they were able to take him off of one of the heavy pain meds. His muscle spasms have also subsided completely! Yeah! I am so glad to hear all of these wonderful things and of course he is winning the hearts of many at UW. I guess he has also had quite a few inquires. I knew from the moment I met Leroy that he was a fighter. The Neuro doc said that she was amazed at how sweet he was being in his extremely painful condition. Keep those prayers coming for healing of course!"
And when he returned from the University of Wisconsin, the change was remarkable!
"Well I went and picked Leroy up Sunday morning from the university and it is a night and day difference. He seemingly feels fantastic. His spasms are gone and I have a feeling that I will be having to keep him quiet. I was surprised to see that they went into the front part of his neck to do the surgery. I took some pictures that I will send with this but the best picture is of him looking up at me because he couldn't lift his head before. We will continue to take it easy but it is really cute to see his true personality coming out. He even wanted to play with a leaf today. So cute!"
Two weeks later, Leroy Brown celebrated Hallowe'en for the first time! Costumes and dress up aren't any part of the puppy mill experience, you know.
"Leroy wanted to make sure that everyone had a great Halloween! He had a lot of fun. He told me that he wanted to be something that would truly show his personality and well since dinosaurs are so big and strong we thought that was fitting. He greeted all of the trick or treaters with big tail wags and they showed off each others' costumes. He really is truly a sweet and endearing dog. It still amazes me that he has such a positive outlook after all he has been through.
"As far as things going with my other dogs each day he shows great improvement. He loves my boston terrier now and they play while just the 2 of them are gated off in the kitchen. They crouch down and chase each other. Leroy even backs down when Endo has had enough. He really seems to like to play as I knew that he would when he discovered how much fun it was. He even showed interest in playing with Capone last night. I still do not allow him to be off leash around the other dogs even if he drags it around I like to have a handle on the situation but I am pleased with his improvement.
"He goes back for a 4 week check up next Thursday November 8th up to Madison. He is showing nothing but improvement. ' He is wonderful with all people big and small. He was fantastic with my moms cats. I truly don't think that there is anything holding him back. His mobility is amazing almost like nothing ever happened to him. I took him to my father in law's and he has 6 acres. We went for a little walk and he just trotted behind me exploring the new smells and sights. He never once looked funny at any of the trick or treaters in some of their very strange or scary costumes. He couldn't be fooled by those silly humans."
In mid-November, we posted Leroy on our available page. He continued to learn how to play with toys and he made very good friends of Endo and Capone, a Boston and a Frenchie in his foster home. What a great deal of progress from the hurting, fearful boy he'd been only 6 weeks before.
And this past month, Leroy Brown's time with FBRN ended, and his new life as a member of a forever family began.
"It is with a heavy but very happy heart that I would like to report Leroy is off to be king of the castle at his new home with [his new family]. You will see in the pictures that [his new mom] is absolutely smitten with him. What I found even more histerical is that the minute they walked in the door his dad was already snapping pictures. Leroy took to them immediately and snuggled up with them on the couch.
He was getting his kisses in and rolled over for a tummy rub right away. As hard as it was for me to watch him leave, he didn't even look back. It was as if he knew.
"Some times I think that they truly can understand you. I was sure to tell him all week that he was going to his new home today. He jumped right in their car which was conveniently close to the ground. His new mom was laughing because Leroy wouldn't share the passenger seat. I know that he will be spoiled rotten and I really think as much as he ended up loving my dogs he will truly love being the center of attention. So here are some pictures of him. Enjoy because they sure are cute!
P.S. my dogs are thrilled right now because they are allowed now to have some of the toys that Leroy left behind. I sent him with his stuffy but [his family] had already gotten him many of his own.
S.(the sad but proud foster mom)"
See the smiles? Your support and our volunteers make those smiles possible. We think we do good work, don't you? Thank you!
The Frog Princess