As a new RAGOM volunteer, my first assignment was to write about 2-year-old Korey, who is currently available for adoption. If you’ve followed RAGOM in 2020, you may know about this handsome guy. He came to RAGOM in January having just been rescued from China, where the abuse he suffered left him paralyzed from the waist down. Back when Covid-19 first hit China, people falsely believed dogs spread the virus, so many were surrendered, abandoned or beaten.
I know, I know—the mere hint of animal abuse makes you want to stop reading now and move on to something—anything!—less heartbreaking. Believe me, I get it. But thankfully that’s the end of the sad stuff because, as I discovered, Korey’s life today is full of joy, love and hope!
My playdate with Korey
I felt the best way to write about Korey was to meet him. So, joined by my husband and three of my kids, I met Korey and Rutager (his foster dad) in a park on Halloween Day. We saw them both from afar—the doggie wheelchair Korey uses to get around sets him apart just a bit. When he saw us and could tell Rutager was heading our direction, Korey ran to greet us with dog hugs and kisses. Good around strangers? Check! Good with kids? Check!
I was in awe watching Korey navigate the world from the confines of his wheelchair. He doesn’t let it slow him down at all. In fact, he really doesn’t let anything slow him down. When Rutager took him out of his wheelchair, Korey was able to use his hind legs to go anywhere he wanted, at just about any speed he wanted. They are atrophied and stiff so they don’t bend and operate like legs, but he can use them to prop his back end up and then pull himself forward with his front legs. It’s quite impressive and a powerful testament to his physical and mental strength and fortitude.
Korey is loving and playful, gentle and curious. As Rutager said, Korey would have been adopted immediately if it weren’t for his incontinence (see below). He is everything that is good and fun and wonderful about dogs, all wrapped into one beautiful, well-behaved, energetic and fun-loving pup. He just needs to find his forever home to make this Cinderella story complete.
Korey is very adoptable!
I repeat: Korey is adoptable. He will make an excellent companion with the right person or family. Maybe that’s you?! Here are some things about Korey that might help you determine if he’s right for you:
- Korey loves strangers, kids and puppies. With all the trauma Korey has experienced, it’s truly remarkable he isn’t fearful and aggressive. But he’s not. Korey hasn’t met a human, kid or puppy he doesn’t love. Bigger dogs are hit or miss, but for the most part, Korey is up for any and all new friends. Rutager is working on testing Korey around cats—follow Korey's RAGOM blog to get progress updates on how that’s going.
- Korey is incontinent and that likely won’t change in his lifetime, so patience and understanding are essential. With paralysis comes incontinence, which means he can’t control his bladder or bowel functions at all. For urine, his Rutager has found that expressing Korey’s bladder is the easiest on everyone. I watched him do this and it’s a surprisingly simple process. He just gets up under Korey’s haunches, wraps his arms where Korey’s bladder would be, and squeezes gently until urine comes out. It’s not messy at all and Korey doesn’t mind it. Rutager said he expresses Korey’s bladder every two hours when he’s home, but since Korey does well when he’s home alone during the workday, he can certainly go for longer stretches than two hours. Korey also wears a belly band that serves as a diaper, which catches any leaks between bladder expressions.
As for the poop, well, it comes out whenever it comes out. There’s no sugar-coating it, it’s a bummer. The good news is that it comes out in fairly clean and manageable pieces, so it’s just a matter of picking up and wiping the spot with a sanitizing wipe. Even so, it’s probably best to have no carpet or rugs on at least one level of the home.
It’s worth mentioning that Rutager said he’s only come home to a real mess twice in the nine months he’s fostered Korey. All things considered, that’s not bad at all, and the poop situation actually sounded much less intimidating than I expected.
I wish this went without saying, but it doesn’t, so I’ll say it anyway: Korey should never, ever be punished for his inability to control bladder and bowels. It’s not a behavior issue or something to be corrected. He can’t help it because he has no feeling down there, plain and simple.
- Korey weighs about 50 pounds so at least some physical strength is required. Korey is close to full grown at 50 pounds so be sure you’re comfortable carrying and lifting that amount of weight. Whether it’s helping him get in the car or hoisting him into his wheelchair, at least some physical strength is required.
- Korey spent most of his life trapped in a crate before being rescued, so putting him in a crate for any amount of time is not in his best interest. It’s tempting to think about containing any accidents he might have by putting him in a crate when you’re away. But considering how rough Korey had it before RAGOM—not to mention the anxiety he exhibited when Rutager tried him in a crate in the beginning—crating him is not a good idea.
- Korey sleeps through the night. And he doesn’t even sleep in the same room as Rutager. He’s happy as a clam to go to bed when it’s time (given he gets his bedtime cookie, of course). His diaper is usually just a bit wet when he wakes up but he also has a full bladder when Rutager expresses it in the morning, so he’s able to hold it fairly well at night.
- Vet bills should be about the same as any other dog. Yes, he’s in a doggie wheelchair, but he should be able to stay in the one he’s in now for the rest of his life. Because of his incontinence, Korey is more prone to urinary tract infections (treated through medication in the form of a pill), but Rutager said expressing his bladder seems to help keep those infections to a minimum.
- Korey is still in the puppy chewing stages, but he responds well to redirection and should grow out of that soon. I was just happy to see him wanting to do puppy things, knowing he still has that playful spirit puppies are supposed to have.
- Korey spends very little time in his doggie wheelchair. In fact, he really only uses it on walks. When he’s at home, he uses his hind legs—which are stiff and act like a tripod—to get around. I asked Rutager how the doggie wheelchair performs in the snow and he said it works like a champ with no issues.
- Korey is used to being home alone all day and does just fine. I was surprised to learn Korey wouldn’t require someone to be home all day, but Rutager works outside the home and Korey seems to do well when he’s alone in the house.