Here's How This Pet Insurance Company Helped Two Dogs Walk Again

It took a little hydrotherapy and a lot of love 💕

A chihuahua running in a wheelchair and a black dog laying in the grass
Fetch by The Dodo pet insurance

Reuben's life changed in an instant when his family discovered he had an unexpected spinal issue.

At 4 years old, a newly adopted Chihuahua mix, Reuben, was diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), an emergency condition where the discs along the backbone are pushed from their normal position. In Reuben’s case, a disc had unexpectedly burst in his spinal cord, and he needed emergency surgery the next day to remove the fragments.

Reuben’s health scare came on fast as he started limping and whimpering one morning — by that night, the normally chipper pup had collapsed with paralyzed back legs.

After a successful surgery and some bed rest, Reuben began his recovery process — this included hydrotherapy sessions, a standard recovery practice that helps pets regain their strength after surgery or an injury. The goal is to get pets moving while putting less stress on their muscles and joints.

According to Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, hydrotherapy offers a long list of benefits, like decreased pain and swelling, improved range of motion, and increased strength, endurance, flexibility and circulation — plus, it’s mentally stimulating during a time that can cause pets to feel cabin fever.

Twice-a-week appointments, along with physical therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy and at-home massages, got Reuben to a place where he could comfortably move around with a doggy wheelchair. But all of these services didn’t come for free.

Luckily, Jonathan and Shahar, Reuben’s parents, signed up for Fetch by The Dodo pet insurance during their adoption process — this was especially important to them with knowing so little about Reuben’s medical history.

“We thought Reuben was healthy, and we didn't think anything could happen,” Shahar told The Dodo. “But it was nice and relaxing to know that everything is covered. And if we were to have a need, then there are no fine lines.”

Reuben’s surgery cost $7,500, of which Fetch paid back around $5,000. And although therapy is still ongoing, Jonathan and Shahar have received about $10,000 back from Fetch so far.

“There's no other way we could have done it,” Shahar said. “It’s nice to have this peace of mind and just not worry about it and be able to give Reuben the treatment he needs without even thinking of the cost.”

Reuben is just one example of a dog who benefited from hydrotherapy. Baxter, a puppy struggling to walk from place to place and unable to chase other pups at day care, benefited from the treatment for a completely different reason.

“Chasing other dogs was a practical impossibility,” Galen, Baxter’s pet parent, told The Dodo. “He just would try, and then it’d make me nervous because he'd fall over. He stuck out like a sore thumb. That's what I would say. He's totally stuck out like a sore thumb in a pile of puppies.”

At 6 months old, X-rays and testing confirmed that Baxter had bilateral hip dysplasia, which is when both of a dog’s hip joints become loose. Galen immediately enrolled Baxter in treatments, from ultrasounds (which helped with his back tension) to acupuncture to hydrotherapy.

Not only did Fetch cover $10,000 worth of Baxter’s treatment costs, but he’s now able to run, jump and even go for hikes.

“I'm grateful to Fetch for giving Baxter his best life,” Galen said. “Because as much as I want to take responsibility for it, I wouldn't be able to do any of these things without Fetch. And that's just the truth.”

As we’ve seen through Reuben and Baxter’s stories, you’ll never truly know when your dog will need a second chance at a healthy life until it happens. Be prepared for that day by signing up for Fetch by The Dodo pet insurance.