Catching Up, Giving Thanks, and Pet Blogging

View Post

Get Out Of Anything (Because Pets) Excuse List

View Post

Why Rabbits and Easter Don’t Mix

View Post

The Specials: Adopting A Dog With Spina Bifida

Dogs represent our best selves; they are always grateful, loyal, brave, and genuinely want to make things better. Dogs are natural optimists; they believe in happy endings and always root for the underdog – even when they are the underdog.

LaCroix is a 3-month-old Cattle Dog with a boatload of energy, zest for life, and lots of puppy sparkle in his blue eyes. He is a little guy (for now) with ears as big as his heart. Like most puppies, he doesn’t stand still for long. He loves to play, learn new things, and make people smile – and he does it all on wheels!

LaCroix was born with spina bifida and his back legs are paralyzed. Sometimes being a little different makes you extra special and a whole lot more adorable!

Rescuing a paralyzed dog with spina bifida, LaCroix's story

Rescuing A Paralyzed Dog With Spina Bifida

LaCroix was rescued along with several other dogs from a hoarding situation in January. His former owners initially surrendered eight dogs last summer. Kristen Gerali of ALIVE Rescue kept in touch with them in hopes of saving more dogs – removing the puppies and getting the adult dogs, many of which are feral, spayed and neutered.

After earning their trust, ALIVE and two other Chicago rescues removed twelve dogs and puppies, including LaCroix and plan to go back for more. They are also sponsoring and coordinating spays and neuters for all remaining dogs.

Rescuing a paralyzed dog with spina bifida

LaCroix’s former owner assumed he was injured because he couldn’t use his back legs and scooted around on his butt. But an MRI and other tests revealed that LaCroix’s paralysis is the result of spina bifida, a genetic condition in which the spinal cord doesn’t develop correctly. He will be paralyzed for life and will need continuous therapy, massage, and supportive care. Because his paralysis includes his bowels, he will also be at greater risk for constipation and urinary tract infections.

LaCroix is currently living in an experienced foster home with another partially paralyzed dog. He has adjusted well to his cart and will soon need a larger one (because puppies grow). His back legs are wrapped to keep him from chewing on his toes, a common issue with paralyzed dogs. He also wears a scoot suit (kind of like a baby sleep sack for dogs) for his own protection. His foster mom is hopeful that new meds will help him leave his toes alone. If not, he may eventually need to have one or more amputated.

As you can see in the video, LaCroix is a smart, friendly, happy-go-lucky, fun-loving puppy. He loves exploring, cuddling with his foster brother, and hanging out with his foster mom at work. LaCroix is hoping to find a family who is as special as he is. In the meantime, you can follow his adventures and cuteness on Instagram.

What I find most inspiring about special needs dogs like LaCroix is that they have no idea (nor do they care) that they are different or beautifully imperfect. They just want to be dogs and enjoy normal dog things – adventure, playtime, good food, and comfy beds in a safe home with a family who loves them. Although LaCroix will certainly face some challenges, he deserves his happily-ever-after, fairytale ending like any other dog.

LaCroix's story: rescuing a paralyzed dog with spina bifida

Spina Bifida in Dogs

Spina bifida is a condition that occurs when one or more of a dog’s vertebrae do not properly fuse together in the womb. While the cause is unknown, there is evidence of a genetic component linked to maternal stress, malnutrition or ingestion of toxins during pregnancy. Dogs with Spina bifida have trouble walking, controlling their muscles, and are often  incontinent. Spina bifida is usually discovered in dogs when they are puppies and the severity of symptoms varies greatly.

The prognosis and life expectancy for dogs born with Spina bifida is dependent on many factors. If a dog has significant spinal cord damage and shows severe signs of neurological deficits, the outlook is guarded and sadly, sometimes grim. However, if the dog shows few or no observable symptoms the prognosis is more hopeful. You can find more complete information on Spina bifida here.

Read the inspiring story of LaCroix: rescuing a paralyzed dog with spina bifida

Helping LaCroix and Other Paralyzed Dogs

ALIVE is partnering with Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, an organization that provides families with special needs animals with the equipment, medical care, rehabilitative therapy, training, support, and resources to optimize quality of life and keep these beauties in loving homes – and out of shelters.

Bialy’s Wellness Foundation was started in 2014 and named after Bialy, a severely abused stray puppy rescued just before Christmas. Bialy was only two months old when she was found with a wound on her neck and a fractured T11 vertebrate. She received extensive therapy for her injuries and worked with behaviorists and trainers to ease her anxiety from early trauma. She was co-adopted by two loving families. Although Bialy passed away in 2014, her spirit and legacy continues to inspire the work and mission of the foundation.

Want to help dogs with special needs, paralysis and spina bifida? Please share LaCroix’s story AND make a donation to ALIVE Rescue and/or Bialy’s Wellness Foundation. Your donation to ALIVE will support their ongoing rescue efforts including rehoming, spaying and neutering more dogs from the same location. A donation to Bialy’s Wellness Foundation will help cover ongoing supportive care, equipment, and therapy for dogs with special needs. 

Bialy’s Wellness Foundation raises funds through events and an e-commerce store where they sell some of the most adorable merchandise around!


Rescuing a paralyzed dog with spina bifida

LaCroix 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. Mark Muller
    March 21, 2018 / 6:48 am

    La Croix is a trooper… and hugs to all people who help to give this dogs a chance…

  2. Molly the AireGirl
    March 21, 2018 / 9:49 am

    LaCroix is just too cute! Bless the peeps who do so much for these special needs pups♥

  3. Madi and Mom
    March 21, 2018 / 11:23 am

    LaCroix is adorable and THOSE ears are just too cute. He surely has adjusted to his scooter like a prop.God bless the rescuers and his foster homeHugs madi and mom

  4. Brian
    March 21, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Such a sweetie loving dog! We love your Specials posts, they are always extra special and filled with love.

  5. Yamini MacLean
    March 21, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Hari OMNow that's a dog with sssttyyyylllleee!!! YAM xx

  6. Montecristo Travels
    March 21, 2018 / 12:36 pm

    Aw what a FACE!! He's got verve and spunk in spades — I am glad he is surrounded by people who are going to do all they can for him to have a good life. I have yet to meet a "scooter" dog in person … the ones I read about all seem to have such a joy for life.

  7. Three Chatty Cats
    March 21, 2018 / 1:15 pm

    What a beauty LaCroix is! I'm so glad he was rescued (with the others) and ended up with an experienced foster. It's amazing what animals can endure and remain so happy. But I guess LaCroix doesn't know any different! And he's mastered his cart, so cute!

  8. Michelle & The Paw Pack
    March 21, 2018 / 2:31 pm

    LaCroix is such an amazing little cutie!! I'd love to adopt a special needs dog someday. I've kept special needs rabbits and various other small animals/reptiles in the past, but never a dog, at least not one with physical special needs. I hope to be able to have that experience someday, when I live somewhere more conducive to caring for a pet with physical special needs.

  9. Sheltie Times
    March 21, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    It is a special calling.

  10. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    March 21, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    What a beautiful pup LaCroix is!!! And so brave too. We are so sad at reading his story. Mom said she will send some green papers in to help his cause. Thank you for telling us about him.Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  11. Lola The Rescued Cat
    March 21, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    LaCroix is a gorgeous dog with a beautiful heart that shines through his photos. I also love how animals who are "special" don't realize they have limitations or that they're different. I sponsor an incontinent cat at Tabby's Place who lost her tail and often has UTIs and a sore bottom. She never lets that get her down!

  12. Julie
    March 21, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Isn't LaCroix too adorable for words! He is special is more ways than you can countLoves and licky kissesPrincess Leah xxx

  13. Kamira G
    March 21, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Honestly I'm amazed how much I've come to learn from bloggers. I didn't realize dogs suffered from this condition Spina Bifida. LaCroix is a cutie and clearly his condition hasn't dampened his spirits. Animals can teach us great life lessons. Enjoy and appreciate every day and live it to the fullest with a smile. Thanks for sharing this post and educating people.

  14. Caren Gittleman
    March 21, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    This was an amazing post, thank you!! My stepdaughter is 42 and was born with spina bifida….(she has been quite ill since December with many complications from it)……..I must be so naive, I never knew dogs could have it too DakotasDen

  15. Idaho PugRanch
    March 21, 2018 / 7:36 pm

    OMD he is so cute! How wonderful that they are people out there willing to help him find the good like he so deserveshugsHazel & Mabel

  16. The Swiss Cats
    March 21, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    What a cute face ! Paws up for the people who takes such good care of him ! Purrs

  17. Seville at Nerissa's Life
    March 21, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Oh my mouses, LaCroix is a cutie. Just LOOK at that face! Those eyes!!! Awww… The peep is sittin' here next to me, swoonin'. MOUSES!

  18. Eastside Cats
    March 21, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    These people have such big hearts!

  19. Fashion Beyond Forty
    March 21, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    I just do not think he could be any cuter! I just fell in love with his puppy face! It does break my heart that people let alone pets who can't truly communicate verbally with us get disease like this. I am so thankful for organizations and people who work at them like Alive Rescue.So thankful.

  20. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    March 21, 2018 / 9:56 pm

    I may have just fallen in love, please don't tell my two.

  21. FiveSibesMom
    March 21, 2018 / 11:12 pm

    LaCroix is amazing and adorable. Today I was talking about indomitable spirit on my blog, and LaCroix surely has it. My Gibson had gone lame in his hind end as a result of needed medications for his epilepsy and required lots of PT and massage and a lift harness, while not to the extent of this, I understand the work and love that is involved…but so very true, they do not seem to realize how special they are! Thank you for sharing LaCroix's story. We can learn so much from them and their approach to life. And bravo to those caring for him and others with spina bifida. Angels for sure!

  22. evie
    March 21, 2018 / 11:50 pm

    he is so cute, god bless the people that have him now and who will be adopting him. i have never heard of a dog with spina bifida

  23. FidoseofReality
    March 22, 2018 / 12:06 am

    La Croix, I am tweeting your story now. We can really learn so much from the spirit of a dog and his or her will power and innate ability to challenge an obstacle. I want to be just like them ,as dogs are my role models. Great piece!

  24. Allison
    March 22, 2018 / 12:15 am

    Thanks for this great post! It's educational and inspiring without being sentimental. I didn't realize dogs could get Spina Bifida nor about how many resources exist to help them. Thanks too for being a voice for animals with special needs through this blog.

  25. Jana Rade
    March 22, 2018 / 12:17 am

    God bless everybody who takes in such babies. They have so much love to give and life they want to live.

  26. Lifewithmutts
    March 22, 2018 / 12:35 am

    LaCroix is such a cute pup! I love how resilient and happy dogs are, despite their circumstances. Unlike humans, who spend time feeling bad for themselves. Dogs just skip that step and figure out how to do what they want the best way they know how. Hope he finds a great forever home. In the meantime, I'm so glad he has a loving, experienced foster to stay with until his perfect family finds him.

  27. Christine AnimalHealer
    March 22, 2018 / 1:05 am

    Oh my dogness!! LaCroix is adorable!! I had no idea that dogs could get spina bifida. He is one lucky dog to have been adopted by someone so caring. I love watching him race around on his wheels and that you're spreading awareness that his condition does not have to be a death sentence. I'm so glad he is able to have a happy normal life.

  28. Sandy Kubillus
    March 22, 2018 / 2:26 am

    LaCroix is too cute!He obviously loves the freedom he has with his cart. Can he sit down? The cart I had many years ago was only for walking. I shared your post. Hopefully, he will get a new wheelchair soon! I donated to Bialy's Wellness Foundation.

  29. Amy Hempe
    March 22, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    LaCroix is an adorable warrior! Thank you for sharing this – there are so many dogs with special needs who deserve the chance to live with a family.

  30. Ruby
    March 22, 2018 / 8:36 pm

    OMD, what a sweetie!!!!! For those who give lots of love, more love is given in return. I gots my paws crossed that one of those lovely peeps will see his kind soul, and gives him a furever home ♥Kisses,Ruby ♥

  31. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    March 23, 2018 / 12:45 am

    What a beautiful dog. Pups thrive even if they don't have use of their back legs. Thank you for showing this

  32. Beth
    March 23, 2018 / 1:21 am

    LaCroix is so adorable! I'm so glad that the rescue earned the trust of his former's owners were able to help so many of the dogs from their home. It sounds like a really special organization. I wouldn't be surprised if his foster family becomes his forever family.

  33. Cathy Armato
    March 23, 2018 / 4:23 am

    What a beautiful, special little pup! I love his zest for life despite his challenges, I'm so glad he's in good hands. Sharing.Love & biscuits, Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  34. Denise Gruzensky
    March 23, 2018 / 4:57 am

    LeCroix is too cute for words! What a great organization Bialy's legacy foundation is, helping out our special needs furry friends! I'll have to learn a lot more as I have been looking for an organization that might be able to accept special need equipment donations??… The ability to adapt, forgive and love unconditionally is a lesson we should ALL learn!

  35. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    March 23, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    We have so much to learn from dogs! This little guy is simply amazing!

  36. meowmeowmans
    March 25, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    La Croix is so beautiful, and we are so thankful for ALIVE and Bialy's Wellness Foundation for their love, compassion and care for him.

  37. Anonymous
    March 25, 2018 / 4:48 pm

    What a terrible situation, but glad to hear that he is vibrant, and adaptable! Thank you for the work you are doing to raise this special guy!

  38. Marv Marvelous
    March 27, 2018 / 2:18 am

    La Croix is a total cutie! The people who are fostering him and the Bialy’s Wellness Foundation are incredible! Thanks for sharing La Croix's story.PurrsMarv and Mom

We love comments! Thank you!