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PA Saint Bernard Rescue

PA SAINT BERNARD RESCUE  -  the local chapter of the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation, a 5013c organization headquartered in Oregon.  Our focus is on Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia

Theodore is a 3 yr. old, 160 pound bundle of love. He was adopted from rescue by a very kind couple living in Erie, PA. The couple are caregivers to two special needs young men, both of whom are confined to wheelchairs, Theodore was adopted as a companion for them. Suddenly and inexplicably, Theodore lost all mobility and sensation from his mid-section down. After being rushed to emergency at the Veterinary Speciality Hospital in Pittsburgh, and follow up consultations with veterinary experts, it was concluded that Theodore most likely suffered a stroke-like event in his spinal cord - known as FCE.  

Expensive MRI imaging is required followed by, at a minimum, intensive physical therapy several times a day by a qualified therapist, and possible surgery if a herniated or ruptured disc is discovered. Theodore's condition will require special care and his medical bills will be extremely high, the family thought it would be best to hand him over to the care of professionals with PA Saint Bernard Rescue. He is now currently comfortable in a private care enterprise surrounded by staff who can assist him at any time. 

Theodore has already begun stem cell therapy which involves spinal injections using the dog's own stem cells, with the potential to regenerate tissue in the part of the body that was damaged and caused it to lose function. He is also in the very early stages of physical therapy.

Theo is a young dog and special companion, and he deserves a fighting chance. However, time is of the essence. Please help this great Saint. Let's get Theodore back on his feet!

UPDATES (12)

Posted on March 28, 2017

It was been one week since Theodore was released from the hospital.  The PA St. Bernard Rescue is working with him to assess the amount of time/care required to care for him.  Unfortunately, Theo requires a huge commitment:  one that an average family would probably not be able to address.  Here is the level of care required in a typical day:
6am - short walk using a lift harness (requires a good amount of strength - Theo is 160 lbs.), followed by a small meal of kibble/canned food.
7am - catheterization (takes approx. 30 minutes of prep work)
10-11 am - small meal.  Lift him to turn to other side.
Noon - place him in wheeled cart and go for walk outside for 30+ minutes
3-4 - small meal followed by catheter procedure
6 pm - place in cart and go for walk outside
9 pm - small meal - catheter
10 pm - sleep


Because of this extensive schedule, it has become almost impossible to find someone to adopt him.  We have also check with special needs sanctuaries across the country.  They are few and overbooked.  If anyone knows of a special place and/or special person that is willing to help Theo, please contact us immediately.   Time is running out.













Posted on March 10, 2017

Theodore will be leaving the hospital March 11 for a trial period.  We have purchased a hydraulic lift to assist in getting him into his cart and also to flip him over every 4-5 hours to prevent sores.   The total hospital bill is over $12,000.  Once again, any and all assistance is greatly appreciated.


Posted on March 01, 2017

Recently visited Theodore at the hospital where the staff put him into his new wheeled cart and took him outside for a walk around the parking lot.  Photo attached.   Because of his size, it is going to be a challenge to find Theodore a forever home.   He requires at least two handlers to get him into and out of his cart.  Also, when lying down, he must be turned over every 4 hours to prevent sores, especially around the joint of his hip.  He will be available for adoption upon his release which will take place by mid March.  One possibility would be an animal sanctuary/haven that specializes is handicapped animals.   Please submit all adoption request and recommendations through Poundwishes.  Also, we are continuing our request for financial assistance.  Theodore;s hospitalization and treatment costs have gone well beyond the initial $6000.  Your continued support is greatly appreciated.  


Posted on February 24, 2017

The hospital staff took a video of Theo using his new cart.  To view, go to University Veterinary Specialists (Pittsburgh) Facebook page.   A meeting is scheduled for Sunday 2/26 with the hospital staff to discuss Theo's release and subsequent care.  We will be putting him up for adoption shortly


Posted on February 22, 2017

Theodore just received his special wheeled cart and has tried it out for the first time yesterday.  The hospital staff tells us that its a little awkward and it will take several days for him to adjust.    He is still incontinent with not much hope for regaining much control.   The hospital is considering a moe permanent catheter for greater ease of use.   His hospital bill at this point is over $10,000.   We are hoping and praying that more people are willing to help this great guy.  A photo in his new cart will be posted shortly.  Thanks to all of you.


Posted on February 13, 2017

Theodore continues his stay in the hospital.  It has been over a month now.  He received his second stem cell treatment last week.  It will take 3-4 weeks to determine if there is any improvement from the treatment.  In the meantime, he continues to receive physical therapy several times a day.  His front legs have greatly improved and he is able to move himself around while hospital staff hold his back legs.   He loves to be taken outside for his therapy and, weather permitting, the staff gets him out once a day.  A custom wheeled cart has been ordered for him.


Posted on January 30, 2017

Theodore remains in the hospital (3 weeks).   He continues to receive daily physical therapy to help strengthen his front legs and to keep muscle tone in his rear legs.  He still has no movement in his rear legs and he remains catheterized.  Followup CTScan and Pyelogram results were inconclusive.  We are meeting today with a surgeon who will present options for a semi-permanent bladder control device.  If we can manage his bladder, we will proceed with obtaining a wheeled cart and, with the help of hospital staff, see if he is a candidate for this type of mobility.   Of course, every day he remains in the hospital is costly and the cost of a custom-made cart is significant.  Any and all support is greatly appreciated.   (see photo of Theodore strapped into a mobile device that hospital staff constructed specifically for him!)


Posted on January 19, 2017

Awaiting results of ct scan and myelogram done last night 


Posted on January 13, 2017

Theodore has begun his therapy treatments:  three sessions on the underwater treadmill, and electro-stimulation once per day.   His is pretty weak right now and can only endure short periods on the treadmill; however, he appears to really be enjoying it.   No signs of any feeling, but we're in the very early stages of treatment.


Posted on January 11, 2017


Both veterinarians (Dr.Hutchison - stem cell therapy and Dr. Brown at the University Hospital).
Plan to proceed as follows: We are cancelling the MRI; we will proceed with stem cell therapy accompanied with physical therapy. Physical therapy will consist of hands on deep massaging and movement of the muscles 3-4 times a day. Also, once a day, starting today, Theodore will undergo underwater treadmill therapy which is provided by the University Hospital staff. He will be transported daily to and from the hospital by the hospital medical van. The hospital has agreed to discount the costs since we are a rescue. Dr. Hutchison stated that, if successful, we should see some results from stem cell therapy in 4-6 weeks. If improvement is indicated, Theodore will receive a second round of stem cell injections. 

We will continue to provide further updates. Thank you!


Posted on January 10, 2017


Theodore remains in the hospital with a low grade fever. His MRI has been put on hold because he is not well enough to be transported across town where the imaging unit is located. 

We were told that time forward is limited unless we can get him into a wheeled dog cart to keep him upright. We're working on that. Please donate and pray for Theodore, he needs all of the love and support as possible at this time. 


Posted on January 09, 2017


Theodore is currently staying at the University Specialists Hospital. We learned that they do not have MRI equipment at their location and that Theo must be transported to a facility approximately 30 miles away for the imaging.

This is now scheduled for tomorrow. We also learned that they are not very optimistic about his recovery, giving him only a 20% chance for minimal recovery. However, in speaking to the veterinarian involved in stem cell therapy, he still maintains that Theo is a good candidate for this procedure. We will conduct further discussions with all involved tomorrow morning to determine our course of action. I will keep you apprised of the situation.

Thank you for your support during Theodore's time of need. We are all hoping and praying for a positive outcome for the big guy. Any dollar amount contributed is greatly appreciated!

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