Positive for heartworms?: 
Extraordinary Golden Fund recipient?: 

GRR Number: 19-098

Type of Surrender: stray

Status: Available Soon

Age: 6 months

Personality: Platinum blonde fur as plush as whipped cream, sparkling candy-kiss eyes, and a killer smile: 6-month-old Frankie is so delectably pretty, it’s no wonder her foster family calls her “Frank-a-licious”!  Her personality is just as beguiling. She’s a cuddle bug, a social butterfly, a high-energy play-dog who, in classic puppy fashion, likes to go-GO-GO! until she suddenly conks out for a deep, soothing power nap. In fact, if you asked Frankie, she’d say she’s the luckiest girl going, with fun toys and lots of company and all the love a dog could want.

“As far as she’s concerned, there’s not a thing wrong with her. She’s a typical Golden… just adores company and wants to be near you. She greets us every morning like we’ve been separated for days. And she has another classic Golden trait—that familiar selective hearing,” says her foster mom Margaret. “She can hear the ice maker a mile away and comes galloping into the kitchen for a treat, but if you ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do, she suddenly goes deaf!”

But Frankie needs more than the typical puppy home. She needs an extra-special family, one willing to handle her mobility challenges and her uncertain future.

So, what’s going on with her? Frankie came to us late in October, when a kind family found the tiny blondie wandering alone on the street. They scooped up the 10-week-old to bring her to safety, but could not keep her—so, before you could say “Gold Ribbon Rescue,” the perky 11-pounder was a stray no more and all set up in her GRR foster home. She took plenty of tumbles and her back legs kind of went every which way when she ran, but at first everyone just put it down to the usual puppy gawkiness.

Six weeks on, though, it was clear that something more serious was involved. Her back legs move in an odd turned-out way, her tail wags in a “low” position, and she sometimes knuckles under on her back feet, enough so to damage her toenails and the tops of her feet if she walks on pavement (but she can position her feet properly to balance when she potties). She bunny-hops when she moves fast (and she CAN move fast!), and has something of a tendency to slip on bare floors; and managing the six steps down to her family’s backyard (and back up again) is a challenge for her.

Our first thought, of course, was to look for an orthopedic issue, but Frankie’s hips and spine look perfect on X-ray. In fact, it’s as if she uses her hips, not her knees, to propel her back legs. At this point, the vets’ thoughts turned in a different direction. Could it be an undiagnosed parasitic infection? Or, was this a neurological problem? To rule out infection, we started Frankie on a long course of strong antibiotics. She sailed right through and completed the treatment in February, but her gait is still not right. That leaves, as the most likely explanation of her symptoms, a congenital neurological condition affecting her spine or (less likely) her brain. Without doing a spinal tap or MRI (not something GRR can afford), it’s hard to know just exactly what’s going on, but the results wouldn’t change our approach: continue giving her the great life she already has and look for a family who is willing to love and support her just the way she is.

“She isn’t painful, and that’s huge,” says Margaret. “She really does get around pretty well. The vets just can’t predict the future, though: will she get worse? Nobody knows. In 6 to 8 months, we’ll have a better idea of her future mobility. If she develops any obvious weakness or changes involving her FRONT legs, that wouldn’t be a good sign; it would point toward a problem in her brain, not her spine. It’s also possible that she will stabilize at her current level of function. Again, we just don’t know.”

Ideal Home: Frankie’s ideal family will be one who has a ground-floor set up, few to no stairs, and enough carpeting or runners to give Frankie secure footing throughout her day. Like any puppy, she’ll do best with someone who is at home for much of the day. You’ll need a strong back and arms in the household, as she cannot really jump and does need a boost into vehicles and onto sofas and beds (!). If you have prior experience living with dogs facing challenges like hers, that is certainly a plus. But just as Frankie takes her limitations in stride, her new family needs to do the same, remembering that above all she’s a beautiful, cheerful, frisky girl who loves her toys and other pups and spending lots of time with her people. (In fact, about the only thing she does NOT enjoy are car rides, which she finds pretty darn scary!)


Please contact if you might be a fit for Frankie.We would be more than happy to talk to you in much greater detail about this lovely girl. GRR will cover the cost of her 3- and 6-month check-ups at the specialty clinic, and we can also review some other suggestions the vets have made (for instance, booties to protect her hind feet).


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