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Pet name:
Australian Shepherd, Terrier, Mixed
Attn: medical professionals or skilled caregivers

Meet Hope! This gorgeous blue-eyed puppy was rescued by a Good Samaritan when she dropped some items off at the local dump and saw an emaciated puppy nosing through the trash. After a few attempts, she was able to coax Hope to trust her and get her to safety. She posted Hope's information on a Charlotte-area rescue page, and Worthy Dog stepped up to help. Hours later, Hope was in our custody and scheduled to see the vet for a full examination. Hope had some swelling on the side of her snout and was severely underweight, weighing only 11 pounds. She also had trouble standing up, which we attributed to her being weak, malnourished, and needing recovery time. The vet guessed her to be 4 months old and said she needed to gain weight/strength before being healthy enough to be spayed. He believed the puncture wounds they found on her snout came from another dog, and she was started on antibiotics to address the swelling and sent home.

When Hope's foster mom, Ruth Ann, got her home, it was obvious that something was just not right. Ruth Ann is a retired nurse, and we are so thankful she was Hope's foster mom. She saw that Hope had difficulty standing without her back legs going out, her rectum would not close, and she didn't squat to pee. Her bladder would fill up, then leak out and eventually empty, but not completely. We took her to another vet to have her re-examined and discovered this poor puppy had been shot twice at close range and had pellets lodged in her face and spinal column. The vet's prognosis was poor, and they felt there was no way to repair the damage already done, adding that surgery might make things worse. Hope was diagnosed with both urinary and fecal incontinence due to the pellet lodged in her spine. On a positive note, she's not in pain, her legs have strengthened, and her mobility has improved. Hope walks, runs, plays, jumps, uses steps, jumps in the car, and can do anything a normal dog can do now.
Not ready to give up, we decided to get a second opinion from a Neurologist to get a more detailed assessment. They gave us a similar diagnosis: Hope has a spinal trauma that causes fecal and urinary incontinence. They left open a little possibility that Hope's body might compensate and improve because of her young age. We went to a second neurologist and received the same prognosis, and then contacted several universities with Vet schools to see if they were running any clinical trials that might apply to Hope's condition. We had no luck with the universities and learned that Covid has dramatically reduced the number of active trials.
Next, we decided to try Eastern medicine, giving her regular acupuncture treatments and herbal supplements. It's still too soon to know, but we MAY be seeing some progress. Since starting acupuncture, Hope has started to posture like she's squatting to pee. There's nothing coming out yet, but we hope the posturing is due to increased sensation. Ruth Ann also reports her bladder is easier to express since the treatments. Hope's acupuncture doctor shared that neurons repair functionally when the patient performs the act, so posturing is a step in the right direction. She added that nerve healing is painfully slow, and patience is key. We are also doing herbal supplements to help open any blockages to the spine.
Outside of the incontinence issues, Hope is a joyful, social dog who loves everyone she meets — men, women, and kids too. She is also a young, healthy adolescent who is active and loves to play. She will play with the neighborhood kids until everyone has worn themselves out. She always does a submissive pose when she meets someone new, but as soon as they talk to her, she just wants love and to be petted. She loves attention and seeks it out.
Hope enjoys going for walks and will jump up in excitement when the leash comes out. She walks pretty well but will pull when she gets excited. Ruth Ann walks her regularly with a neighbor dog, and Hope will give the other dog many kisses when they meet, and she seems calmer and enjoys her walk more with another dog. Riding in the car is one of Hope's passions; the other is playing in the backyard and lying in the sun.
Hope is crate trained but will cry for a bit when you leave her. Ruth Ann often keeps her in the bedroom when she leaves, and she does not bother anything. She's not house trained, as her potty routine is not typical for a dog, and will require someone comfortable with draining a bladder and used to caretaking for others. We really feel someone with a medical background — nurse, caretaker, doctor, veterinary professional, etc. will be the best fit for Hope.
Daily routine:

Ruth Ann changes her diapers 5 to 6 times a day. She uses baby wipes and doggy shampoo as needed and always applies Desitin, as she is prone to diaper rash. She uses duct tape to keep diapers from leaking and will often add a cloth diaper for an added layer of protection.


She expresses Hope's bladder at least 3 times a day, or every 8 hours


Hope eats a prescription diet, currently Hills C/D, to dissolve bladder stones and reduce the prevalence of crystals in her urine and prevent UTIs

Hope requires consistent care, and a skilled caregiver. We are so fortunate to have Ruth Ann, a seasoned nurse, as her foster mom. We could not give a dog like Hope this chance without a committed foster parent like Ruth Ann to manage her care.  
We know Hope is not a fit for most homes, and we are looking for that special someone who can handle her medical issues to step up for her. We still have optimism for Hope, and we plan to continue her acupuncture treatments and consult with a local rehab MD we've worked with in the past to get his counsel.
If you have some medical background and want to learn more about Hope, apply today!


BREED ESTIMATE:  Aussie/Terrier mix
GENDER: Female
APPROXIMATE AGE: ~ 7 to 8 months
COAT TYPE:  short
OTHER INFO: utd on shots/spayed/microchipped


FOR MORE INFO OR TO ADOPT: Please go to and complete the application.

You can also help save dogs like this one by becoming a foster, providing a rescue dog with a temporary home and giving them the love and care they need until they are permanently adopted. Every person who fosters is directly responsible for saving the life of a dog, because we can only save as many dogs as we have foster families available to welcome them into their homes. If you think you might be interested in becoming a foster and want to learn more, please go to and fill out an application.

Worthy Dog Rescue is an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue that primarily adopts to families in the DC Metro area.


  1. American Humane Association
  2. Peeva
  3. American Veterinary Medical Association
  4. Veterinary Information Network
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