Dog who inspires brain and spinal cord injury patients honoured at BC SPCA Awards Ceremony
Elsa, a three-year-old pit bull, was presented with the 2013 Animal Hero Award by the non-profit B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at a special ceremony held in Vancouver on May 31.
Elsa was rescued by the BC SPCA along with 26 other dogs in a 2010 cruelty investigation. At only five months old, she was suffering from mange (a severe reaction to the overpopulation of mites on the skin), a respiratory infection and worms. After she received veterinary care and was adopted through the HugABull rescue society, Elsa’s health and quality of life improved dramatically.
In April 2011, Elsa was playing at her doggie daycare when she suddenly fell to the ground, paralyzed. She was rushed to an animal hospital where a neurologist confirmed that Elsa had suffered from a fibro cartilaginous embolism, a blockage of the blood vessels between her T1 and T2 vertebrae. Elsa’s guardians committed to an extensive rehabilitation program to help her regain her mobility, and after 18 months of treatment Elsa was able to take her first steps.
Following her recovery, Elsa’s guardian Kelly Dann, enrolled her in the screening process at BC Pets and Friends and Elsa is now a certified pet visitation dog. Once a week for the past year, Kelly has taken Elsa to the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, where she provides friendship, support and encouragement for people with brain and spinal cord injuries.
“She inspires those brave and wonderful people to never give up,” says Dann. “I am very proud of her.”
“Despite a difficult start in life, Elsa has overcome adversity and inspires others to do the same,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “She truly is a hero.”
The BC SPCA Awards Program honours both people and animals who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare during the past year. Recipients include veterinarians, staff, volunteers and animal heroes. The non-profit BC SPCA cares for nearly 29,000 abused, abandoned, injured and neglected animals each year in British Columbia.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.