The tiniest Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix, Toby was born with Hydrocephalus. In other words, the puppy has a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in his brain, which can affect mobility, coordination, and vision.
Because the little dog is incontinent and paralyzed in his back legs, his original owners planned to euthanize him. Luckily, Florida Yorkie Rescue saw Toby’s potential and rescued him.
Love And Patience Help Toby Grow
In November 2021, Florida Yorkie Rescue transported the six-week-old 16 oz puppy down to Palm City, their home base. He arrived thin and urine-soaked.
After they bathed him, rescuers offered Toby some solid food. The small yet hungry puppy eagerly devoured it. He probably was never offered solid food until then.
After six weeks in FYR’s care, Toby nearly doubled in weight. At 12 weeks old, he weighed 28 ounces (1.75 pounds.) He started to feel safe and show off his personality, reminding rescuers why their efforts were worth it.
As Kit DeRoche, President and Founder of Florida Yorkie Rescue put it in an interview:
“He’s happy and he’s well-fed and he has a personality, and so as long as those things stay, we’re going to try to work with him and see what kind of quality of life we can give him. But, I’m very optimistic, and I think he is too.”
“Deformed” or not, Toby is still a puppy, and he still has the capacity to enjoy life with his handicap. DeRoche summarized:
“Every life is worth living, just because he has some challenges, they are never too big for Florida Yorkie Rescue.”
Small Wheels For A Small Dog
In December 2021, Walkin’ Pets, a company that makes wheelchairs and mobility devices for dogs, rewarded the puppy’s endurance. Walkin’ Pets team members flew down from New Hampshire to outfit Toby for a custom wheelchair.
The wheelchair will allow him to build up strength in his front legs and get around without help. In a Facebook post, Walkin’ Pets explained their decision to help Toby and his rescuers:
“Toby stole our hearts instantly – and we knew we had to step in and help. Walkin’ Pets donated him a set of wheels and Walkin’ Drag Bag to help with rehabilitation, and getting him back on his feet. Soon enough, Toby will be able to get around independently & freely.”
There was a bit of a learning curve when Toby got his new wheels, but he now has the ability to walk on his own. This video of Toby learning to take his first steps with his new wheels will absolutely melt your heart:
A Lifelong Commitment
After deeply involving herself in Toby’s journey, DeRoche decided to permanently adopt the dog. Regular updates to the Florida Yorkie Rescue page indicate he’s doing well and has a great life. He also has his own dedicated social pages on Instagram and Facebook.
Toby requires a little more care than a dog without special needs, but since she’s able, DeRoche is thrilled to provide a loving home for him. She recommends caring for a special needs dog to all who can:
“I would certainly encourage most people who want to give a little special needs dog a chance, I would encourage them to take a dog like that as long as they have the finances that may be required down the road… but a special needs dog and a rescue dog you will never find a more grateful heart in any dog than one that you’ve rescued.”
As Toby’s medical bills will likely be extensive, you can make a donation to Florida Yorkie Rescue’s “Toby Fund” here.