About the book:
When their veterinarian told them their dog would never walk again, they refused to listen. Nobody Told me My Legs Don’t Work is an incredible story of a dog’s will to walk again after a spinal stroke and the determination of the young couple that did everything they possibly could to make it happen. The book chronicles the dog’s journey from paralysis to being wheelchair-bound to triumphantly walking again in a pet parade as well as the progression of the couple that grew from childhood sweethearts to eventual parents. It is a story of hope and inspiration that champions animal rescue and care. Forward by Dr. Ava Frick, a leader in the animal rehabilitation field.
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Why did you write this book?
From the minute I realized Keegan would make a recovery that would allow her to maintain some sort of quality of life, I knew I wanted to tell her story. Her rehab was so intense and time consuming so at the time all I could do was jot down notes and journal her progress. As things began to slow down I sat down and began to create the framework of the story. But it took a while to unfold.
What do you think will surprise readers the most?
That it took ten years to finish. It’s a short book but dense in detail and a roller coaster of emotions. I didn’t want to pad the book with unnecessary details, it’s simply the story of Keegan’s amazing spirit and will to walk again, sprinkled with tales of our other rescues. Many of them have amazing stories to tell as well. Keegan is certainly at the center of the narrative but not the only important character. With so many rescued animals with journeys of their own, I felt like I should wait until their stories were all complete before finally sitting down to write it. I didn’t want to finish with an ambiguous ending, “this is how it ended after one year”…it’s more fitting as “this is where they came from and how it all ended.”
What surprised you the most as you wrote it?
How raw the emotions still were despite the time that had passed. I knew the story, how it ended, yet as I sat down to flesh out the details and write the final few chapters, it was like Keegan had her stroke yesterday. The heartache, despair, pain, was all fresh again. I found myself in tears more than I would have liked as I finished it. Thankfully, there were happy tears as well as I relived each small victory of her rehab and reflected on our life with all our animals.
What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?
I imagine every reader will experience their own takeaway from the book. The overarching themes in the book are the bonds built between pets and their owners, the amazing spirit that animals possess, and what good things can happen if you never give up and never stop searching for answers. And I hope it is helpful to anyone that is in the same situation we were in – with a down dog and no idea where to begin. I included a chapter on tips that worked for us and might be helpful to others.
Did writing this book change your life in any way?
It’s impossible to go on the journey my wife and I traveled without being changed forever. I’ll never look at an animal the same again. I’ll never take a walk with a dog for granted again. Such small moments that are often overlooked really became much more important to me. It was also a stark reminder of how fast the rug can be pulled from underneath you. As I mentioned earlier, writing the book served as a reminder of those important perspectives.
What do you hope will come from others reading it?
The world of “down dogs” is such a large one yet one that few people know exists. I would love to see a greater awareness of how many handicapped animals are out there. And I hope that people realize just how precious our pets truly are and how much they rely on us for everything, from love and happiness to health care. It is not a relationship that should be jumped into lightly, but when done right it can be one of the most richly rewarding relationships in your lifetime.
Photos from Nobody Told Me My Legs Don’t Work