VANCOUVER – When Elsa was only one year old she suffered a major spinal cord stroke, leaving her unable to walk.
Kelly Dann had only recently adopted the pit bull from the BC SPCA. She had been mistreated and had been through four homes before ending up with Dann.
Despite the bleak prognosis about her new dog, Dann said she was not going to just put her down.
“I just felt like she needed us to be there for her and that would give her strength to get better and it has,” she said. “I’m not giving up on her, she’s not giving up so if she’s not ready I’m not giving up on her either.”
After 16 months of rehab, Elsa still can’t walk and has to be pushed around in a dog buggy, but she can hobble, she can move around and most importantly, she’s happy.
Now she is giving back to others who are undergoing rehab, just like she did.
Elsa and Dann spend every Tuesday night at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver, visiting the patients.
“Initially I just wanted to keep Elsa active and stimulated after her stroke so this was a way for us to do something together,” said Dann. “And my hope was to maybe inspire some people that have gone through a similar situation as Elsa to never give up and hang in there.”
James, who is a patient at GF Strong, said he looks forward to seeing Elsa every Tuesday night.
“It’s great, and she’s endured pain and she’s been through rehab too,” he said. “She’s the cutest dog I know.”
“She makes lots of people smile here, a lot of people.”
Dann said Elsa is now so happy and so active, she’s so glad they did not give up on her.
“She’s a wonderful breed ambassador, as most pit bulls that I know,” she said. “They’re actually really sweet dogs.”
In 2013 the BC SPCA honoured Elsa with the Animal Hero Award.