It’s a story about survival and love, with plenty of goodwill thrown in for good measure.
Marley, a two-year-old black lab cross, has already been through a number of challenges in his young life and is now settling in for a carefree future. The pooch has been through various owners, exhausting pain, and a life changing surgery, but is now living a joyful life with his new family in Nelson.
Originally know as Thumper, the dog was found with his three siblings on a public boat launch at Jumpoff Joe Lake in Washington state. A young couple brought the month-old pups to the Colville Pet Refuge centre, where he was treated for a broken foot and depleted immune system.
“Thumper had a broken left back foot. He was in pain trying to walk — so mostly hopping on three, sort of dragging the other one,” Colville Pet Refuge documents stated.
After an overwhelming increase in pets at the Colville Pet Refuge, Marley was transferred to the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program: a charitable, non-profit organization located in Nelson that provides medical care and temporary foster homes to animals waiting adoption.
Accepting animals from the Colville area is an unusual situation for the program, but when room permits they like to lend a hand. Since the fall of 2007, the local program has helped almost 900 cats and dogs, 550 of which were homeless.
Once in Nelson, Marley was adopted by a loving family, but when they found medical costs caused by his constant pain to be too much to handle, he was surrendered back to the assistance program.
The shelter decided this lively pup deserved a chance to share his love and live without pain. After a veterinary analysis, it was discovered that a bone chip had caused damage to Marley’s front knee, and surgery was needed to correct the issue.
The technology needed for this intricate procedure is not available locally, so Marley was referred to the University of Washington animal teaching hospital in Pullman.
The money for this $2,000 procedure was raised through generous donations and in late February Marley began his journey to recovery.
After arriving at the university, tests were done and radiography showed that an arthritic disease known as bilateral elbow dysplasia affected both of Marley’s front knees.
Doctors also found damage in his front joints, likely the result of severe shock caused by a large fall or being thrown from a vehicle, which aggravated the dog’s dysplasia to the point of constant pain.
A bilateral elbow arthroscopy was performed on both of Marley’s legs and after a successful surgery and 24-hour recovery period, he returned to Nelson.
Since then, Madeleine Fulton — a sales associate at the Nelson Star — has adopted Marley. Fulton heard about the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program after doing various ads for them.
She says they were not looking to adopt a dog, but Marley had been in shelters for so long and his special needs made it difficult for other people to adopt him.
Fulton changed her new pet’s name to Marley after discovering that the name “Thumper” came from the way he “thumped” his broken leg trying to walk when he was found as a puppy. His new family decided a more fitting name was appropriate, so they decided to name him after Bob Marley.
Marley has been doing very well, finally being able to play to his full potential lately.
“We took him for a swim at the Cottonwood Lake, and he went for a half hour walk,” says Fulton.
However, Marley’s family has not forgotten the great amount of help the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program has been towards their new dog.
“We couldn’t have afforded to adopt him if it wasn’t for them,” explains Fulton. “He would have been dead if they hadn’t paid for his surgery”
Marley is expected to live a full, pain-free life, with the full use of his limbs. He is running and playing, and is happy with his new family, thanks to the incredible support of the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program.