Angel is partially paralyzed and was found abandoned in Sylvan Lake. She is now being treated at the Central Alberta Humane Society. (Photo contributed)

Paralyzed dog found abandoned in Sylvan Lake

Bylaw investigation underway

A partially paralyzed dog found abandoned in Sylvan Lake is being treated by the Central Alberta Humane Society.

Executive director Tara Hellewell said the dog, which staff have named Angel, was brought in Tuesday morning by a Sylvan Lake bylaw officer after someone found her among mattresses and debris outside an apartment building.

The dog has sustained some kind of injury or birth defect that left her legs and hind end paralyzed.

“We’ve never seen anything like that before. She was just so, so underweight. It was shocking for all of us,” Hellewell said.

“She’s not in pain, so that’s very good, but she’s been this way for quite a long time based on the amount of muscle atrophy.”

A specialist will be consulted and more testing is required to determine if there are any underlying issues.

Hellewell said the damage to the dog’s spine cannot be repaired, and staff feared the worst, but within 24 hours of receiving emergency care, she perked up.

“She has got quite the will to live.”


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The dog, about two years old, is a lab-cross, and Sylvan Lake bylaw department is investigating the abandonment case.

Hellewell said that since the dog was left in a public place, someone wanted her to be found and helped. Maybe the owner didn’t know how to ask for help, or didn’t know who to ask. But people were likely aware of the dog’s condition.

“We know people don’t like to get involved, but animals don’t have a voice. We have to speak up for them.”

She said the dog was comfortable and eager for human contact.

“She gives the paw on the leg. She gives the eyes. She’s had love. Very sweet.”

So far, the humane society has raised $7,303 to help Angel.

“The outpouring on Facebook when we posted about her has been incredible. We can’t believe how the community has responded.

“Some people may not agree that a dog like that is going to have its best life because it doesn’t have the use of its back legs, but there are so many examples of animals having a great life despite having that kind of disability.

“We’re fighting for this dog. We believe she has a future.”

Angel will probably need a wheelchair, but adoption offers have already come in, she said.

The humane society, which does not receive government funding and relies on public donations, still needs to raise $20,000 for its new diagnostic room that will have equipment like an X-ray for emergency cases like Angel’s.

Hellewell said the society frequently deals with emergencies, and the equipment will allow animals to get diagnosed and treated quicker.

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