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The Hugs for Tugger Fund

$8,955raised of $8,700 goal
100%

Organizer: Toni Caiazzo Beneficiary: Tugger

Tugger was hit by a car on the morning of 8/19/14 and suffered a punctured lung and fractured vertebra. He currently is unable to move from his mid-back on down. He needs our help so he can recover.

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Fundraiser Details

On the morning of 8/19/14 I came upon a dog hit by a car along Swamp Pike (New Hanover Township - Montgomery County, near the New Hanover Township Fire Company). I had the folks who were with the dog - who I have named Tugger - put him in the back of my car and I took him to the vet. No microchip. The vet hospital said that if no one claimed custody of Tugger that they would have to euthanize him.  Over my dead body. So myself and the poor person who hit Tugger claimed custody. He suffered a punctured lung and a fracture in his 4th lumbar vertebra, and is currently unable to move from his mid-back on down because of injury to his spinal cord from the fracture.  His owners have neither been located nor have come forward.  I have no idea how much the medical costs will be, but I am setting up this fund so that we can all help poor Tugger get the treament and care that he needs and deserves.  The next 12-24 hours are critical with regard to his spinal cord injury from the fracture, so getting him to a neurologist is priority.  The MRI to assess the damage to his spinal cord, along with possible surgery to secure the fracture, will be very expensive.  So please consider a donation on Tugger's behalf - even a dollar means the world to Tugger and is much appreciated.  He has been under treatment at the local veterinary hospital (the expenses will probably be around $1,000 there), and will incur additional expenses once transferred to the neurologist (at a minimum probably $6,000 from what I have been told).  And please also say prayers for this sweet boy that his spinal cord injury is only temporary.  He is the sweetest dog; in spite of his injuries he just wants to be petted and touched.  On behalf of Tugger, many thanks, hugs, and wet doggy kisses!  (P.S.  Some have asked how he got the name Tugger.  When he was placed in the back of my car, he looked up at me and laid his head on my arm, in spite of all his pain and shock.  That tug at my heart.  And in the immortal words of Tug McGraw:  "Ya Gotta Believe!"  I gotta believe that he will regain use of his back legs and walk again.)

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Updates

Updates

09/01/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
The neurologist wants him to be kept immobilized as much as possible, to give the vertebra fracture time to heal and form a callous around it.  Tugger's vertebra has to be stabilized in order to use a wheelchair.  The hard part right now is his frustration with not being able to move his back legs, along with keeping him clean and dry to prevent bed sores.  It is like having a newborn again.  But as I keep telling Tugger, we will figure it out and we will get through it.  He is a very sweet and gentle dog, and super smart.  In just two days, he figured out that when I say "Sit up Tugger" - it means I need his help in getting him cleaned up and his bedding changed.  He sits himself up as best as he can, and gets himself into the position that he has realized is most helpful for me to help him.
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09/01/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
UPDATE FROM 8/30:  A certain dog whose name begins with "T" apparently is starting to feel better - his horns were out this morning, and he showed his moxy this afternoon. I was out running errands, and when I got home, he had chewed a hole in his "cone of shame" and had one of his front legs through it (apparently was trying to get it off, lol) and had the foam cushion folded in half and pushed up to the front of the crate and was hanging out on it. I guess maybe he had a tantrum while I was gone. I won't even tell you what it was like this morning when I was trying to help him - but his horns were definitely out! LOL.  I won the battle in the morning, but he definitely won the war in the afternoon.  He was propped up on the folded up cushion with such a look of "I'm done with this stuff."  It was nice seeing this spunk, actually.
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08/27/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
I have raised the goal a bit, as some people would still like to donate. Tugger has a long road ahead as far as therapy and medications needed.  I am not sure if once the goal is met, people will be unable to donate.
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08/27/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
And I cannot thank you enough for your kindness, concern, and support of Tugger!  I could not have done this for him without each and every one of you! 
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08/27/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Tugger will be coming home today.  He has a tough road ahead - I have to try to keep him immoblized in a crate for at least 6 weeks to allow the vertebra with the fracture to heal.  The neurologist would like the fracture to form a callous so that it is stable prior to Tugger learning to use a wheel chair.  I am going to keep him near a window so he can enjoy the sunshine and get some fresh air while he recuperates.  I am going to figure out how to create a page on Facebook just for him so you can follow his progress/recovery.  Once he is out of the woods, I would like to plan an event so that each of you can come meet him in person.  Maybe in time for the holidays!  Keep your fingers, toes, and eyes crossed, and say a prayer for him!
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08/25/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Looks like Tugger will be coming home tomorrow!  The neurologist wants to observe him one more night.
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08/25/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Tugger update! I visited him last night. He seems to not be as frightened. He ate some kibble from my hand, licked my arm, and gave me a kiss as I was saying good bye. He is so confused with everything going on. I am hoping and praying that he regains some degree of feeling in his back quarters. The doctor's concern right now is with Tugger's degree of bladder control (the doctor is concerned over the potential for bed sores to develop while the fracture is healing, etc.) They have him catheterized right now, so they cannot tell. But the concern is for when he is sent home, and will no longer be catheterized. Please say a prayer for him! I am waiting to hear if he may be able to come home tonight or tomorrow. As soon as I hear anything, I will let you know. I know I am a broken record, but I cannot thank each one of you enough for your help and support. I could not have done it without you! And I apologize I have not yet responded to posts and messages from over the weekend. I will try to get back to everyone over the course of today. 

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08/22/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Many thanks to the donors who contributed direct donations at the local vet hospital ($40.00) and to the specialist's office ($100).  As they continue to come in, I will post updates. 
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08/22/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Tugger update! Some good news this time - the neurologist examined him again this morning, and he is confident that it is not the ascending/descending myelomalacia. Tugger will remain at the specialists over the next few days for monitoring, examination, and just continuing to recover from his injuries. I cannot thank each of you enough for the outpouring of support in the form of donations, messages, offers of help, etc. I could not have done this without each of you. My next step is to start thinking about his life going forward with a disability - he will most likely remain paralyzed in the rear part of his body - but he still has a happy, full life ahead of him.

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08/21/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Someone asked a good and fair question about the fundraising efforts for Tugger. I paid a $2,500 deposit today toward his total balance at the specialists. But there is still a balance, and there will be additional expenses added over the next few days. I am hoping and praying it is not the myelomalacia. If it is not the myelomalacia, he will need to spend his life in a wheelchair, and he will have a long road ahead as far as treatment/medical expenses related to that. The neurologist said he will need to have the fracture stabilized before he can even begin to use a wheelchair, which may require surgery. Then there is the cost of the wheelchair itself (I will look into getting one donated possibly); physical therapy/rehabilitation, med costs, recheck costs, etc. He will have a long road to recovery ahead, and your donations will be put to good use. So many thanks again to each of you! And hugs from Tugger.
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08/21/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
I wanted to let all of you know that Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital called me a little while ago - they are waiving their balance for Tugger's treatment, as they have been amazed at the outpouring of support from the community on his behalf. For this, I thank each and every one of you. And if you get a chance, please thank them for their awesome care and support of Tugger.
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08/21/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Okay, deep breath...it is with a very heavy heart that I am asking for prayers for Tugger more than ever. The MRI revealed damage to his spinal cord that runs the length of 8 vertebrae. There is damage to the spinal cord ahead of the fracture, as well as behind the fracture. This is why he is unable to move his back side/feel anything in his backside, even though in an X-ray the fracture he suffered isn't all that displaced and doesn't look too bad. Seeing this, the neurologist places the odds of him ever walking again at 0%. I had been preparing myself for this possibility, thinking that he could still have a good life with the use of a wheelchair, therapy, and patience. However, I was not prepared for a second possible scenario: there is a condition that the neurologist is concerned about called "ascending/descending myelomalacia" - what happens is that when the spinal cord is severely traumatized, sometimes it will begin to die in the areas ahead of and behind the site of the trauma. If this is what Tugger has, the only humane thing to do is to put him down, as he will eventually lose the ability to breathe on his own. The neurologist will be monitoring him now for signs as to whether this is his condition or not. Please say prayers for him that he does not have this. Thank you.

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08/21/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
Tugger needs our prayers. The neurologist said that Tugger still shows no sign of pain response at all in the back legs. What we saw yesterday was reflex and not motor skills. As of right now, he gave him a 10% or less chance of walking again. That being said, he did say he has seen dogs the same way who did end up eventually walking again. He will do the MRI today so that we have a much clearer idea of what is going on with the spinal cord. Based upon the fracture, the doctor is not sure why Tugger is like this. He has seen dogs with much worse fractures who regained mobility. I will keep you posted.
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08/20/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
I went to visit with Tugger today over lunch.  He is alert and raises his head to greet anyone who walks into the room.  He has shown slight reflex/response with his back legs.  The doctor isn't sure if this will continue to improve, stay the same, or get worse.  Only an MRI will determine the extent of the damage/injury to his spinal cord.  I will be taking him to the office with the neurologist tonight.  The cost of the consultation/MRI will be around $2,000, which is in addition to the costs at the local vet's office (as of this morning that was $829).  So many thanks for your donations and kindness on Tugger's behalf!
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08/20/2014
by Toni Caiazzo
To all of Tugger's supporters:

As of this morning, his vet expenses at the local vet totaled $829.00.  I will be reaching out to the neurologist on his behalf this afternoon.  Thank you for your support and kindness!
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