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JoAnna Lou
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Paralyzed Dog Saved in Joplin, Mo.
A community rallies together to help an injured pup

There are many amazing stories that came out of last month's tragedy in Joplin, Missouri, but for me, a Cocker Spaniel named Sugar and the dedicated community who came to her aid stood out in particular.

Panicked by the impending tornado, Sugar escaped from the safety of her family's basement just before the storm ripped through their house. When the family emerged, the 10-year old dog was missing and their home was demolished.

Hoping that Sugar might still be alive, one of their relatives searched the internet in hopes of finding the family pet. Amazingly, she stumbled upon a Facebook page that led them to Sugar. As it turns out, a good Samaritan found Sugar paralyzed in the wreckage and brought her to the Joplin Humane Society.

Since resources were tight in Joplin, Sugar's family brought her to the Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital where it was revealed that Sugar had sustained a traumatic disc rupture. She had no use of her hind legs and was experiencing pain in her paws.

Through the Silent Partners Fund and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the hospital absorbed the cost of Sugar’s treatment and therapy. Orscheln Farm and Home in Columbia also helped out by donating food and toys.

Sugar's surgery was a success and just two weeks after the tornado, Sugar was already showing movement in her hind legs. Amazingly, her veterinarians are hopeful that she will be able to regain full function in her legs.

Sugar's perseverance and the community who rallied behind her is truly inspiring.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by MU News Bureau.

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