When Gina Gould first set eyes on Casper the husky, it broke her heart. And given that he was unable to walk or even stand, the puppy was at serious risk of being put down. Gould, however, had an idea that she thought could help the poor pooch.
And that plan had something to do with her profession, as Gould is a trained Electro-Acuscope therapist who uses a machine to locate pain in animals and effectively treat it. To that end, she works with dogs and horses across southern California. And it was through her work with suffering creatures that she came to learn about Casper in the first place.
Specifically, the organization Coastal German Shepherd Rescue had contacted Gould about Casper. At the time of the call, the puppy had been sadly scheduled for euthanasia, in part because his breeder recognized that he was unsellable. But the charity, which finds homes for abandoned dogs in Orange County, California, knew that didn’t mean that Casper wasn’t adoptable.
Still, given that he was born with swimmers syndrome, little Casper had the odds stacked against him from the start. And the terrifying ailment rendered the puppy unable to walk or even stand; all the Siberian husky could do, then, was lie on his belly with his legs spread out to the sides.
Worse still, in cases like Casper’s – where the circumstances of the birth, or where the puppy was born and first learns to move, are unknown – identifying the cause of swimmers syndrome is difficult. Indeed, the splayed legs can be the result of any number of reasons, from genetic to environmental. For instance, if puppies are placed on a slippery surface just after birth, they might not learn to use their legs properly.
Still, there’s a misconception that swimmers syndrome puppies can’t be fixed; there are many methods that can be used to help dogs overcome the condition. What’s more, many of them involve simple physiotherapy techniques such as having the puppy sleep in slings, massaging and manipulating their legs or having them wear “paw cuffs” to pull the legs together.
Because of her expertise, then, Gould knew that Casper didn’t deserve to die without even being given a chance. So, along with her husband, she immediately drove to the rescue center to bring Casper home and start his therapy. “I knew I had to get him in my arms and to safety,” Gould wrote in a YouTube video in 2016.
Then Gould took Casper straight to a vet, who told the therapist to massage the dog’s limp and lethargic body. She was also advised that her own techniques may have a positive impact. However, Gould’s expectations for Casper were cruelly dashed when the vet also explained that the dog might not survive the next three months, let alone ever walk.
So with no time to lose, Gould began treating Casper through Electro-Acuscope sessions straight away. These used electronic currents to promote nerve connectivity along Casper’s spine. She also bound the puppy’s legs together with an old rag to enable him to stand properly.
Furthermore, the rescuer noticed that the snowy white dog had an amazing spirit and a strong desire to live. “It was as if Casper was saying to me, “I’m alive, I’m here and I’m alive! Please don’t give up on me,” she wrote in her video diary on YouTube. Before long, meanwhile, little Casper was attempting to walk.
Slowly but surely, in fact, the pooch began to find his feet. “Every day there is more improvement, more movement, strength and activity,” Gould wrote on YouTube. “It really is amazing to witness how fast a little body responds once the nerve and muscle cells are given the help they need to awaken.”
After ten days, then, Gould took Casper back to the vet who had claimed that the dog probably wouldn’t make it. And, even though Gould told him the canine was now playing, walking and running, he still wasn’t convinced. He even told the animal therapist to show him what Casper could do.
Recalling the inspirational moment, Gould wrote on YouTube, “I placed Casper on the floor and this darling little bundle of white fur began to walk around. Then he ran over to Dr. Park who was obviously amazed. The look on his face was [one of] astonishment.”
Even more amazingly, it soon turned out that Casper’s enthusiasm for life seemed to know no limits. Before long, in fact, he was climbing stairs, chasing his furry brothers and sisters and standing perfectly upright. And while looking at him playing, you’d never know the obstacles he’d had to overcome.
“He loves to hang out on the patio now that it’s cooler out,” Gould also revealed on YouTube. “He is a great, amazing and healthy dog.” And Casper’s run of good luck didn’t end there, either: before long, the rejuvenated husky was adopted by a young man named Jared.
“This is just one story of many,” Gould wrote at the end of her YouTube video. “I take on the sad cases, the painful ones and even sometimes, some feel, the hopeless ones. But I always believe that where there is love there is always hope. Because every life matters.”
Since Gould uploaded her journey with Casper to YouTube, meanwhile, the heartwarming story has been picked up by various media outlets. And the one thing that most readers seem to be struck by is the therapist’s kindness and compassion. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Gould has subsequently been flooded with well-wishes on social media.
“Well done for having the time, love and patience to care for this gorgeous pup,” one Facebook user wrote in 2016 in response to a retelling of Casper’s tale. “To see him running around after he had been written off, is amazing. I love his name.”
And in the same thread another person added, “Both the breeder and vet were [too] quick to put him down. You are his guardian angel who took Casper, saved his life, gave him a chance to live and all the love, care and support he needed. Look at Casper now, healthy, running and one happy dog. Thank you.”
It’s scary to think, then, what fate would have awaited Casper if the Coastal German Shepherd Rescue hadn’t contacted Gould. Luckily, though, her extensive care and expertise was exactly what he needed to find his feet. And, thanks to Gould, Casper was able to go from swimmers syndrome dog to getting on just swimmingly in a matter of weeks.