A Big Bounce Back for A Small Pooch

June 15, 2020

maltese puppy with pink leg casts

On the morning of March 24, Nannette Ramos was preparing another day of remote learning for her daughter Halie, 16, and son Jona, 4, in their Bronx apartment.

As Nannette sat in her reclining chair, she suddenly heard a sharp yelp. 

The family’s new puppy, a two-month-old Maltese mix, had become accidentally pinned underneath the chair.

Nannette jumped up to retrieve the pup, who was unable to put weight on her hind legs.

“She was trying to walk but couldn’t,” said Nannette. “I didn’t know what I was going to tell my daughter, who got her as a 16th birthday gift just a week earlier.”

Nannette phoned her sister, who told her that the ASPCA had just opened a Community Veterinary Center in the Bronx. Nannette called and made an appointment for the beloved pooch to be seen that morning.

“If it wasn’t for the ASPCA, I don’t know what I would have done,” said Nannette, a former hospital worker on public assistance. “I was so happy they had a Bronx location. My prayers were answered. It was a blessing.”

Seven Broken Bones 

Dr. Emma Klein performed a general exam on the tiny dog and immediately confirmed that she couldn’t put weight on her back legs.

“I didn’t feel any obvious fractures,” Dr. Klein said. “But I was concerned by her inability to bear weight on both back legs, as well as her pain.”

Dr. Klein made an appointment for the dog’s hind legs to be x-rayed at the ASPCA Animal Hospital—which has seen emergencies during the COVID-19 crisis—and sent her home with pain and anti-inflammatory medication until her hospital appointment later that day. 

“Despite her pain, she was very friendly and affectionate,” recalled Dr. Niveda Ponmudi, a veterinary intern who examined the dog at the hospital. “We performed x-rays of her hind legs, which revealed fractures in seven of the eight metatarsal bones of her hind feet.”

X-Ray's of leg injuries

Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery, felt confident that, given the dog’s young age, her bones would heal on their own with proper splints that she applied to both hind legs.

Jenny Gieun Im with the maltese puppy

Receiving love and care from Jenny Gieun Im, Manager Operations, AAH Medical Staff

“With her new stability, she was immediately more comfortable and interested in moving,” said Dr. Gayle. “We sent her home with more pain medication and strict instructions for cage rest to allow for proper healing of the bones.”

From Harmed to Healed

When Halie saw her beloved dog’s x-rays, she began to cry. 

“Despite having her for only a week, we were already very emotionally attached to her,” Nannette explained. “She even sleeps with Halie. We’re all in love with her. She brings so much joy."

The family took her back to the CVC for a splint change on March 27 and visited weekly thereafter. Even with her hind legs splinted, she was soon back to her energetic self, trying her best to play and run. She has since healed completely.

the maltese puppy at home healing with family

Happy at home with Halie

The new pup helps Nannette’s family in more ways than one, including having a unique impact on Jona, who currently receives occupational therapy remotely. “Having a pet is so therapeutic for kids with special needs,” said Nannette. “Helping families like ours is a blessing. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

As for the recliner, Nannette has gotten rid of it. 

“We are looking for a new sofa and chair,” she said. “I don’t want this to ever happen again.” No doubt her new pooch agrees.