Jace (5)Jace is an awkward and adorable bundle of puppy love. We’re not sure what mishmash of breeds he is but whatever the combination, it provides maximum comic effect – with his long legs and enormous paws, silly little airplane ears and hilarious stumpy tail you can’t help but smile when you look at him.

Jace may be fantastic at bringing a smile to people’s faces but he hasn’t had too much to smile about so far in his young life. He was found running loose when he was less than four months old and when no one came looking for him, his finder brought him to LAPS.

We quickly found out that Jace’s social skills were a tad on the rusty side. And by rusty, I mean pretty much nonexistent. He would bark hysterically whenever a new person entered the room and was very uneasy when strangers approached or tried to touch him. His trainer Kayla buckled down and got to work immediately, dispensing tasty treats to volunteers and staff members so that everyone had a supply of goodies whenever they were around Jace. He was making huge strides in his social development when he hit a bump in the road.

About a week after Jace arrived at the shelter, Kayla, who had been fostering him in her own home, noticed that Jace had stopped gobbling down his meals and had turned into a total couch potato. She took his temperature and discovered that he had a super high fever. Although it was snowing like crazy (it was actually the same day that we were trying to host National Cupcake Day and were dealing with a sudden rush of cats and kittens!), Kayla immediately rushed him from her home in Abbotsford to Mountain View Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Ferguson did a thorough exam and we discovered…nothing. There was nothing obviously wrong and until further test results came back all we could do was provide supportive care. After a couple of days of syringe feeding, anti-nausea medication, subcutaneous fluids and lots and lots of cuddle time, Jace bounced back from his mystery illness and went right back to being his boisterous, bossy self and spending his days cuddling on Kayla’s couch and playing with her dogs and cats.

With his health crisis behind them, Kayla and Jace snapped back into training mode and worked like mad to make up for lost time. Kayla continued to turn everyone into human treat dispensers and polished Jace’s obedience until he outshone many adult dogs. She taught him that new people mean good things and as the days passed, Jace started eagerly approaching people in anticipation of treats and love.

Kayla and Jace were becoming quite the pair when Jace hit hurdle number three. One Saturday, about a month after he arrived at LAPS, Kayla noticed that Jace was limping. By Sunday evening, he once again had a high fever and no appetite Jace 018but this time he seemed to have lost the use of his legs, too. For the second time, Kayla found herself rushing him to the vet on her day off. His joints were inflamed and causing him excruciating pain but we didn’t know why. For the next week, Jace was unable to walk unassisted. Kayla carried him outside every hour or two and held him up so he could go to the bathroom. He took comfort from being close to her, so she packed him everywhere and set up his bed right next to her desk.

Although his bloodwork was abnormal for a puppy his age, nothing pointed conclusively to one disease or another – so frustrating! We suspect he might be suffering from HOD, a bone disease that typically affects large, fast growing breeds of dogs but is rare in smaller dogs like Jace. Thankfully, he’s walking again and is almost back to his normal self, although he is still on pain killers to help with his sore joints. The good news is that if it is HOD, Jace will outgrow it and should be able to live a normal life after such a rocky start. Dr Ferguson has been incredibly generous and has provided much of Jace’s treatment at no cost but his medical bills are still adding up. If you have a couple of dollars to spare, any contributions towards Jace’s care would be hugely appreciated. You can click here to make a safe and secure donation for Jace. We’re really hoping that the worst is over but we want to be prepared in case he has any more emergencies. We’ll keep you posted on his progress – the little guy deserves smooth sailing from here on out!

PS. The boy is accident prone! A few days ago, Jace was playing and managed to poke himself in the eye. He’s now on medication for that, too…no permanent damage but does he ever need to learn to be careful!

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