A video of a paralyzed senior dog living her best life has gone viral on TikTok, where it has 2.3 million views at the time of writing.
The clip was posted five days ago by @thelilymobile, a TikTok account sharing various posts about a 14-year-old disabled dog called Lily.
The TikTok account is managed by Caroline Smith, who is an associate producer at The Weather Channel based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fiancé Kenny adopted Lily when she was a year old from an animal shelter.
Lily is “a weird case,” Smith told Newsweek. “She has symptoms of multiple neurological diseases…it just seems as though her legs cannot hold her weight,” she said.
However, “once we ordered her the wheelchair, she was just on fire!…I had no idea how many products there were out there to help your disabled pet have a great life,” she said.
The footage shows Lily in a wheelchair, assuming a Superman-style position, with her stomach facing the ground. She is wearing skates on all four paws. The wheelchair is later seen being pulled down a street, with her skates rolling along the pavement. Her tail is seen wagging as Lily is pulled along by the wheelchair.
A caption shared with the video reads: “You cannot tell me she has no quality of life. LOOK AT THAT TAIL!”
What Causes Paralysis in Dogs?
Canine paralysis often occurs because “communications between the spinal cord and the brain have been disrupted,” says a July 2009 article by PetMD.
Some canines may be paralyzed in all four legs (a condition known as tetraplegia), while some may be able to move some but not all legs. “This is determined by the location in the brain, spine, nerves or muscles that the trauma has occurred,” explains the PetMD article.
Some dog breeds are more prone to paralysis than others, such as ones that are low to the ground and have long backs, such as dachshunds and basset hounds.
Others may be genetically predisposed to a condition known as degenerative myelopathy (DM). The disease attacks the nerves in the spines of older dogs (those over seven years old). “This is a slow acting, progressive disorder that eventually leads to paralysis of the hind legs,” says the PetMD article.
‘A Weird Case’
Lily’s condition began when she first met Smith around three years ago. “I was there the first time she tried to jump into my Jeep and couldn’t…from then on, her hind legs started to get weaker,” Smith recalled.
It took about two and a half years for Lily’s back legs to “completely give out,” Smith said. She was first put in a harness and then a wheelchair for just back leg support, followed by “mid wheels and belly bands to take some pressure off her shoulders.”
All of the veterinarians who examined Lily said they are “not sure” about the pup’s exact condition. But they have ruled out degenerative myelopathy and intervertebral disc disease so far, according to Smith.
In a comment shared in another previous video, which shows Lily moving the wheelchair by herself wearing only skates on her hind legs, Smith explained: “Lily’s front end has a separate neurological issue than her back end. The vets aren’t sure what it is so far.”
Smith told Newsweek: “The latest update is that Lily is a weird case. She has symptoms of multiple neurological diseases. We started her on some electro-acupuncture, and that has seemed to be helping her legs.”
The Weather Channel producer said Lily has started to wag her tail again, kick her back legs, and even run a little in her sleep and she’s allowed to swim in their pool while wearing the appropriate life vests. “It just seems as though her legs cannot hold her weight,” she said.
Smith explained: “For a while we felt lost, and hopeless. I knew that meant there are more people out there who are going through what we are.” She created social media accounts for Lily because she “wanted to really show what we were going through.”
Smith noted: “Wheelchair adjustments, the good and the bad, and every single day Lily pushes through. It shows people that animals really are fighters, do have emotions, and are worth not giving up on.
“Sure, it is very hard work, but seeing my dog enjoy her life is what matters. Dogs are in our lives for such a short time, it’s our job to make the most out of it,” she added.
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