A case of puppy love

Published 8:52 am Friday, November 20, 2009

IVOR—Now that he has his wheels, Hot Rod has been living up to his name.

The miniature Dachshund, who can’t use his back legs because of a slipped disc, was fitted with a little cart with wheels to bear the weight of his legs, allowing him to walk.

“And he hasn’t stopped since,” laughed his owner, Tanya Barbour. “In fact, he doesn’t walk. He runs. He is so active, my husband and I actually have trouble catching him.”

The tiny dog, now 5 years old, came down with the ailment about two months ago, said Barbour.

“This is the second time he’s had this problem,” she said, “and we were sure we were going to lose our dog.

“The first time, the veterinarian told us to keep him quiet for a week or two and he gradually got (better). But during this time, someone — I can’t remember who — also told us that we’d have to put him down if it happened again.”

“So when I came home from work that fateful Saturday night and saw Hot Rod pitifully trying to stand, I was devastated. Mike, my husband and I were both crying.

“Mike had gotten home before I did and had already built a little coffin and dug the grave.

“It was late, but we didn’t want Hot Rod to suffer, so I called our vet.”

Barbour smiled. “This was when the miracle happened.”

Dr. John Bensenhaver, who recently opened a veterinarian clinic in Ivor, was at home in Virginia Beach when Barbour called.

“She was so distraught,” he said. “I had to help her. So my wife and I drove to Ivor and met her at the clinic.

Bensenhaver said when he saw the dog, he knew immediately what the problem was.

“Dachshunds are so long that sometimes when they turn sharply, they can mess up a disc. I felt that with proper care, the dog would heal.”

So he advised Barbour that if it were his dog, he would try treatment.

Barbour said for the first time she had hope and left the dog with the vet.

Bensenhaver took Hot Rod home with him and fitted him with the little cart. The next day, he brought the dog back to the clinic where his staff cared for him.

“Those girls came up here on their days off to give Hot Rod his shots and food,” said Barbour. “I don’t know how Mike and I will ever be able to thank them.”

Today, Hot Rod is well on the way to recovery. He can move his legs, although he can’t stand on them yet. To give him more room to exercise his legs, however, Mike has made him a smaller cart.

Barbour says she can’t say enough good things about Bensenhaver.

“He loves animals and will do anything to help them. It’s because of him that we still have Hot Rod, and I will always be thankful.”