Puppy with special needs is thriving after physical therapy

Courtesy Nikki Carvey

A 10-week-old French bulldog with hydrocephalus, a condition that causes an accumulation of fluid in the brain, is fighting for his life and stealing hearts along the way. The adorable puppy, named Herbie, is making remarkable process, according to the women working to help him.

Herbie was brought to Road Dogs & Rescue, an organization committed to rescuing bulldogs, after the breeder realized Herbie’s condition. Road Dogs & Rescue Founder Nikki Carvey told ABC News that the puppy could hardly move when he first arrived at the organization. Herbie’s condition makes balancing especially difficult, she said.

Carvey’s first step was to bring Herbie to a veterinarian, where neurologists prescribed him medications to help slow down the build-up of fluids. Once that was taken care of, Carvey decided to start him on physical rehabilitation.

“It’s almost like he’s frustrated that he can’t move around normally because he wants to run and play but he can’t, so we’re going to do our best to get him there,” Carvey explained.

Ten-week-old French Bull Dog, Herbie, suffers from hydrocephalus. (Courtesy Nikki Carvey)
Ten-week-old French Bull Dog, Herbie, suffers from hydrocephalus. (Courtesy Nikki Carvey)

 

For the past week, Herbie has been at the Two Hands Four Paws rehabilitation center where swimming and treadmill exercises are helping him to build strength. The goal is to get Herbie to stand up and walk by himself.

“His change has been absolutely remarkable,” Leslie Gallagher, the founder of Two Hands Four Paws, told ABC News. “Every single day he’s so much stronger than the day before.” He is now able to chew on toys and even play tug of war.

Ideally, Herbie will remain at the rehabilitation center for 10 days.

Dogs with this condition are typically euthanized, Gallagher explained, so it is difficult to predict Herbie’s future. Hopefully, Herbie will gain enough function and stability to hold out for another few months. He will need a brain shunt, an operation that drains the fluid, but cannot have the procedure until he is at least 6 months old.

Carvey said that if Herbie is able to have the surgery and make progress, he will be available for adoption. But that won’t happen until his current caregivers are certain he is healthy enough.

What is certain, however, is Herbie’s determination and signature spunk.

“He’s a ton of fun to work with, he’s such a baby,” Gallagher said. “Everyone here has fallen madly in love with him.” Can you blame them?

You can follow Herbie’s progress on Facebook or Instagram.

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