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The Specials: Adopting a Paralyzed Dog

When Lola arrives at the dog park, the other dogs greet her warmly. While the humans sometimes stare, the dogs are curious about her fancy wheels, but still see her as just another dog. And in most ways, Lola is like other dogs; she is happy, energetic, affectionate, and clearly fashionable. She loves making new friends, going for walks, playing with her canine siblings, and cuddling with her humans, Carina and Rene.

Lola, the beautiful paralyzed Westie, shows off her new wheels

Lola was born with Hemivertebrae, a congenital abnormality of the spine where the left and right halves of the vertebrae grow unequally to create a “butterfly” shape in what should otherwise be a very straight spine. The condition causes the spine to bend and twist or grow at an angle and fuse vertebrae together into a wedge. Although the condition is not always serious, a compressed spinal cord can lead to a wide range of problems, depending on which part of the spine is affected, including urinary incontinence as well as weakness, pain, and paralysis in the hind legs. For more information on Hemivertebrae, please visit Lessons of a Paralyzed Dog.

Hemivertebrae dogs

Image courtesy of Lessons of Paralyzed Dog 

Carina and Rene learned of Lola’s condition when she was three months old. Because her case was severe, they tried surgery to decompress her spine, laser therapy, underwater treadmill, electro acupuncture and physical therapy. Although the surgery proved to be ineffective, she continues to receive acupuncture and laser therapy once a month as well as regular massage to keep her circulation and nerves working properly.

While living with Lola requires careful monitoring and some extra work, Carina and Rene feel honored to care for her as she has more spirit and spunk than many able-bodied dogs and humans. Lola has taught them to tune in on a much deeper level and she always shows them what she needs. When she is thirsty, she licks their hand with a dry tongue. And when she is tired, she pulls up in front of her orthopedic bed and waits for help getting out of her wheels. While all paralyzed dogs are different, Lola does need to be expressed to urinate. When she was young, she wore diapers, but she is now fully housebroken and able to hold it until help arrives. However, keeping her on a strict food and bathroom schedule is vital.

Beautiful paralyzed Westie encourages others to rescue and adopt special needs dogs

In addition to Carina and Rene, Lola shares her home with two other Westies, Jasmine and Chico. The family recently relocated from Florida to Colorado. While Lola is not crazy about the cold, she is handling the transition like a champ!

Rene and Carina have learned much from Lola and their love and dedication for her has also brought them closer as a couple. Many dogs like Lola would have been euthanized immediately. But this was never an option for Carina and Rene. They were committed to Lola from the start and she has returned the favor by bringing much joy and meaning into their lives. And when she masters a new challenge, they celebrate her success together and her love and gratitude is immense.

Lola is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.



  1. Mitch and Molly
    February 8, 2016 / 10:29 am

    Lola is quite the fashion pup and is just adorable! Bless Carina and Rene for loving and caring for her♥

  2. Julie
    February 8, 2016 / 11:48 am

    Oh Lola is such a cutie pie. Carina and Rene are very special peepsLoves and licky kissesPrincess Leah xxx

  3. Yamini MacLean
    February 8, 2016 / 11:50 am

    Hari OMOMD Dory has a rival on the fashion front!!! What a gorgeous gal… Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  4. Mark Muller
    February 8, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    Oh Lola your name starts with the same letter like thw word love, that's a sign… hugs to such fabulous people!

  5. The Menagerie Mom
    February 8, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    Oh, this story is such a special one, and I loved reading it (it reminds me so much of my boy Evan). You can just see on Lola's face what a happy, loving, perfect dog she is, despite her medical condition. And she's absolutely adorable and so very fashionable! I send all of my applause and praises to Carina and Rene for being the perfect parents to Lola. Thank you for yet another touching, wonderful story in this series.

  6. Casey
    February 8, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    Lola is a totally stylin' dog!

  7. Brian
    February 8, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    There is good reason why the are called special, cause the surely are!!!!

  8. Groovy Goldendoodles
    February 8, 2016 / 5:44 pm

    It is so wonderful to see technology lend a hand in helping dogs with special needs have independence. What a great post. I learn so much from you! Thank you …

  9. Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog
    February 8, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    I'm so happy you are sharing Lola's story. Paralyzed dogs and all pets with handicaps can lead wonderful lives with a few adjustments. Yeah for Carina and Rene.

  10. Sketching with Dogs
    February 8, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    What a little cutie!I imagine life with a paralysed dog can be the most difficult challenge of all. There is a man in England who makes those wheels for dogs, you can order them by size. Before this I would think there wasn't much option but to euthanise.Lynne x

  11. Madi and Mom
    February 8, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    Rene and Carina are all rock stars in my book. Lola looks like a runway super modelWhat a very very special family. And the dogs at the dog park…accept her for who she is not what she looks likeI love this storyHugs madi your bfff

  12. Dory and the Mama
    February 8, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    What a happy pup Lola looks to be! What a wonderful story, and what wonderful pawrents Rene and Carina are!

  13. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    February 8, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    She is just gorgeous. We're so happy she found a family.

  14. Idaho PugRanch
    February 8, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    WE have seen video of pugs learning to use "wheels". It is wonderful and big pug hugs to Rene and Carina for taking such good care of LolahugsMr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  15. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    February 8, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    Who could resist that face? What a wonderful dog. Such grit and determination and patience. I think she is proving herself to be a wonderful family dog.

  16. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    February 8, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Such a swwet little Lola!!! And what loving humans she found to love and care for her.Woos- Ciara and Lightning

  17. Tenacious Little Terrier
    February 8, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    She looks super sweet and spunky. I'm glad she's getting the care she needs!

  18. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    February 8, 2016 / 11:49 pm

    Bless Lola's family for taking such awesome care of her. She is beautiful.

  19. Lola The Rescued Cat
    February 8, 2016 / 11:55 pm

    Well isn't she a cutie patootie! And she has the best name ever! *giggle* Thank you, Lola's family, for adopting her!

  20. Two French Bulldogs
    February 9, 2016 / 12:41 am

    What a sweetheart. We know people that rescued Frenchies with wheelsLily & Edward

  21. Cathy Keisha
    February 9, 2016 / 1:33 am

    Kudos to Lola and her peeps! As you read in my story, I'm a special needs cats too being feral. I'm not for everyone. Others returned me but not my peeps.

  22. The Island Cats
    February 9, 2016 / 1:37 am

    Lola is adorable! She's lucky to have humans so dedicated to her. Another great "Specials" story.

  23. Unknown
    February 9, 2016 / 2:21 am

    Lola thanks everyone for all the love she's received from everyone! Your kind words mean a lot to us!

  24. Jans Funny Farm
    February 9, 2016 / 2:32 am

    What a cute dog. So glad she has humans who love her.

  25. LBJ
    February 9, 2016 / 2:58 am

    This just made my Mom cry with happy tears. When Barkley's bone cancer got bad, Dad built this big LONG foldable ramp as we're in a bungalow several feet up from the driveway with really steep, old steps. He made slow, gradient steps in it, and had a harness he could place under her middle and hold up the end that didn't work so he could get down to the yard. It had rails so he couldn't stumble and fall off. It's in the basement as we hope to have other senior rescues that may need it some day. Hugs.Abby Lab and her family

  26. M. K. Clinton
    February 9, 2016 / 4:48 am

    THis is such a sweet story. Since I have Pierre, this was especially emotional to me.

  27. Sweet William The Scot
    February 9, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-LolaCould not help myself I had to sing. Lola has one hot set of heavy duty wheels. It is amazing how they just adapt to there circumstances. Bless her heart.Thanks for being a friendSweet William The Scot

  28. LP
    February 9, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    What a cutie Lola is! We are happy she found pawrents who have helped her flourish despite her challenges. Well done!the critters in the cottage xo

  29. Cathy Armato
    February 9, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    Lola is so beautiful! I'm loving your Specials series, but this one is especially heartwarming. These parents are special too! I love the photos. Thanks for sharing Lola's inspirational story!Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  30. Ziggy Stardust
    February 10, 2016 / 4:29 am

    What a cutie pie and a beautiful story. It is great to remind everyone that every dog needs a home.Anne and Ziggy

    February 10, 2016 / 4:52 am

    Lola! Such a beautiful girl! <3 Love her smile and happiness! 🙂 I really love this stories. So amazing and inspiring! Thank you! <3

  32. Kitty Cat Chronicles
    February 12, 2016 / 5:32 pm

    What an amazing and adorable dog! We have a special place in our hearts for special-needs animals. We love her continued zest for life, despite her difficulties. She reminds us of our Sophie <3

  33. Marty the Manx
    February 14, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    What an adorable and fashionable little girl Lola is! You can see how happy she is.

  34. sprinkles
    February 15, 2016 / 6:15 am

    Oh my goodness, Lola is SUCH a cutie! I'm so glad she has such a wonderful life.

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