Speedy’s owner told rescuers about how his dog’s legs weren’t working. She had been crawling all over the place since they had stopped, and he thought euthanasia was the only option. But Speedy’s tail kept wagging, and she kept licking rescuer’s hands. They knew they had to find another way.
Life is hard for anyone with a disability, but for animals, it could mean the end of their lives. Take horses, for instance: if they break a leg they may never recover, and it often leads to euthanasia. Another example is the dog called Speedy.
It’s unknown what Speedy’s life was like before her circumstances changed. But one day in 2017, something happened that no one could have predicted. Poor Speedy lost the use of her front legs, and her human was at a loss over what to do.
Consequently, if she wanted to go anywhere, Speedy had no other alternative than to drag herself around. That was her life for more than a month before her human decided he had to do something. He wanted to end Speedy’s suffering.
It just so happened that an animal rescue group called Sidewalk Specials was in the area. Rachel Sylvester – a U.K.-born woman who had moved to Cape Town, Africa – founded the organization. The homeless dog population of Africa inspired Sylvester to create Sidewalk Specials.
Sidewalk Specials doesn’t actually have a physical base of operations. Instead, it’s largely run through social media with the help of big-hearted foster carers and volunteers. On top of that, it also has connections to other groups, such as the Cape Town-based animal care practice, Vetpoint.
Vetpoint provides staff to help Sidewalk Specials with sterilization drives, or “steri drives.” Together with other local volunteers, the team gives medical treatment to dogs that wouldn’t otherwise get it. Services include sterilization, inoculations and anti-parasite treatment.
Speedy was one of the dogs Sidewalk Specials met during its steri drives. Her owner took the opportunity to get medical assistance, and he contacted the rescue group requesting help. As a result, it sent a vet out to collect Speedy.
But apparently, Speedy’s owner had a more permanent solution to her problem in mind. He asked medical staff to euthanize Speedy and end her misery. “I guess he just couldn’t watch me struggling anymore,” Sidewalk Specials wrote on Speedy’s behalf on December 25, 2017.
But when it took her to the hall, Speedy showed such love for life, even in her current condition. Her tail wagged at everyone she met, and she licked the hands of everyone she could reach. After seeing that, Sidewalk Specials felt it had to give Speedy a chance to live.
The medical professionals at Vetpoint said that there was a possibility Speedy could regain the use of her legs again. However, they also admitted her chances of recovery weren’t good. Nevertheless, when the steri drive was finished, Sidewalk Specials took Speedy along to Cape Town.
Vetpoint also came to a conclusion about Speedy’s condition – it was probably a side effect of an illness. Vets theorized that Speedy contracted meningitis, which resulted in neurological damage. They gave her medication and started work on her physiotherapy.
Sidewalk Specials shared Speedy’s story, and its staff weren’t the only ones she touched. Donations started coming in to help with her recovery – not the least of which was a walking harness. Furthermore, Speedy saw some results from her physiotherapy shortly after.
Her rescuers first told social media about Speedy on November 21, 2017. A week later, Sidewalk Specials uploaded a video of her substantial progress. It showed Speedy supporting herself – just barely – on her front legs, and taking several steps before lying down again.
Speedy’s progress didn’t end there either – with the help of her physiotherapists, she flourished. “Infinite Animal Therapy says I’m doing great,” Sidewalk Specials wrote for Speedy over Facebook on November 28, 2017. “We balance on stuff (a.k.a. eat treats!) then work on my core (a.k.a. eat more treats!)”
“But then they go put me into a humongous water bowl – totally not cool, guys.” Speedy was, of course, referring to her hydrotherapy routine. “Infinite Animal Therapy is so proud to be part of her journey,” Speedy’s physiotherapists informed social media.
“She thought we were crazy to put her in that big bowl of water,” Infinite Animal Therapy wrote. “Pretty sure she never swam before in her life, but she was so brave!” And as Speedy’s recovery progressed there was further good news too.
With the help of Sidewalk Specials, Speedy found a foster home. And while she was looking for her forever home, she got lots of love from her foster family. They also took her to Sidewalk Specials adoption days to find her a permanent human.
But with Speedy’s personality, it wasn’t long before people showed an interest. She touched hearts across the internet. “This is one of the best stories I have read,” one commenter said. “I hope that Speedy will find a loving home.”
By December 25, 2017, Speedy got her Christmas miracle, and she’s continuing her therapy with her forever family. Sidewalk Specials are so grateful for the support they’ve received that got Speedy back on her feet again. “I just wanna say thanks guys,” they wrote for her. “Thanks for caring about a little Sidewalk Special like me.”