NOW PLAYING: Gonna Fly Now
AKA Rocky's Theme

Trying hard now
it's so hard now
trying hard now

Getting strong now
won't be long now
getting strong now

Gonna fly now
flying high now
gonna fly, fly, fly . . .


Gr Gr Gr

Anim Ph


15 MARCH 2010


On 19 March, Debbie Butler of

ADRIAN . . . ADRIAN . . .

I bet most of us remember that famous line from the movie "Rocky". What a great story of beating the odds and survival of the fittest. I have a tale very similar about a boy I know you will find remarkable.

Little is known about this boy before about 10 days ago, but his appearance and medical conditions are dictating this tale.

Rocky. That's the name he's been given because his odds were so slim. He ended up in a small shelter in rural Tennessee. National Airedale Rescue President Elizabeth Berry received a call about him from a concerned volunteer there. She knew that this boy would be sent to a larger shelter with a very high kill rate. Elizabeth did what she does best, which was to put her in touch with the closest volunteer. That happened to be NCAR (North Carolina Airedale Rescue).

With the help of volunteers, Rocky made the nine-hour trip from Middle Tennessee to middle North Carolina.

When I first saw him, he took my breath away. He was both beautiful and pitiful at the same time. His coat was long and matted. I measured dreadlocks that were eight inches long. That says it had been quite a while since his last grooming, if, in fact, he had ever had one.

His eyes were weepy and I hoped he was just crying tears of joy and didn't have an eye infection. He was limping badly on one leg and he smelled worse than anything.


During her examination of Rocky's bad leg, the vet indicated that he had bad matting between his paws and that that could be the cause of his discomfort. She began shaving them away when suddenly she stopped and asked the vet tech to be very still and hold him tightly. I heard the vet tech say, "Is that a nail?" The vet was carefully removing a small nail from Rocky's foot!

Well, that would do it; a nail in MY foot would certainly cause ME to limp. As she continued her exam, she again looked concerned and called another vet to assist her in trying to manipulate Rocky's leg. This was obviously causing him severe discomfort.

After discussions, it was decided that a radiograph was needed. The news got worse. My hopes of it just being the nail were immediately dashed when they called me in to see the pictures. I've seen x-rays of dogs with broken legs and none of them was pretty. This was especially bad as Rocky's front leg was broken at his elbow. The vet explained that it was a chronic break, meaning it was old; probably a couple of months old, but she couldn't be sure.

I heard several words during that initial consult, but I started getting woozy when I heard them say surgery.

After they consulted with an Orthopedic Surgeon at Carolina Veterinary Specialist Hospital in Greensboro, we were presented with two viable options:

One was a surgery called Arthrodesis where the bones will be fused together and then an external fixator will be placed on the outside. After six to eight weeks, Rocky would have a second surgery to remove the fixators.

Our other option was amputation. Many of you may know Max Versagi, the ATRA boy that had a rear amputation several years ago. I was his foster home before he went to live with Connie. Another recent ATRA amputee is Sully. We have all followed his remarkable story HERE, where Max can also be seen. And of course, Bridget Martin, who can be seen HERE.

Rocky is a two-to-three-year-old happy, happy boy. The decision has been made that Rocky will have the Arthrodesis. This surgery will hopefully happen next week. His medical expenses have been quoted to be between $3,500 and $5,000. NAR has agreed to help NCAR with these expenses, but I am asking for your help for this very worthy Airedale. I've seen him and spoken with him. He promises me that he's up to the fight.

He was groomed yesterday and neutered today; his groom was a complete shear.


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