Riley’s Story: Talk about lemons!

Poor Riley has been through more in her two short years than most dogs experience in a lifetime. She came from an extremely rural area in Virginia, and her people had neither the time nor the money to properly care for her. Her original family didn’t pay her much attention and kept her on a concrete slab porch, which is where she delivered her fifteen puppies. A local rescue group managed to convince her people to surrender her so she could come to A Forever Home, but disaster struck the day before she was scheduled to be moved.

Riley, ten days after delivering her puppies, was hit by a car and dragged down the street. The top of her head was scraped, one of one of her femoral heads was shorn off, and the inside of her other back leg had such extensive trauma that she was completely unable to walk. The rescue group that had convinced Riley’s people to give her up called A Forever Home to cover the cost of emergency veterinary treatment and whisked her and her puppies off to the vet. As soon as the vet wrapped her leg to keep everything together, Riley was brought to AFH’s vet, Dr. Martin Tohill, at Chantilly Animal Hospital. Once he removed Riley’s bandages, he realized the damage caused by being dragged on the road was much more extensive than originally thought, and that a specialist surgeon would need to be brought in if there was any hope of saving her leg. Dr. Tohill closed up the gaping wound on her leg and scheduled the surgeon to come. Because both of Riley’s legs were injured, her mobility was very limited. The surgeon decided to install an external fixator to stabilize the leg that was more damaged and to give her more ability to walk.

While Riley was having her surgeries, AFH fosters Debbie and Jeff bottle fed her babies and kept them warm, while everyone hoped and prayed that Riley would come out of surgery with all four of her legs. 

Thankfully, that first surgery repaired enough of the damage for Riley to keep her leg, though it wasn’t repaired enough to give her back her full mobility. Debbie and Jeff would have to use slings to lift and move Riley for everything from changing her bedding, to taking her outside to use the bathroom. Even with the pain her injuries caused, and having to be physically moved by people she didn’t know, Riley was incredibly sweet and an exceptional mother to her babies through everything. 

Riley eventually underwent a third surgery to remove the fixator and allow her to move her now-healed leg on her own. Now that one of Riley’s two damaged legs is healed, she’s getting ready to undergo her fourth and final surgery to remove the femoral head that was shorn off in the accident, and to spay her. 

What’s even better than Riley getting ready to be done with surgeries and pain, is that she’s got a fantastic adopter waiting to take her home as soon as she’s all better! Riley truly is a miracle dog, and her vets and fosters are nothing short of miracle workers. 

AFH and our dedicated volunteers give dogs like Riley, who would’ve died in the middle of the road, in the middle of nowhere, leaving fifteen tiny puppies behind to starve on a concrete slab, a shot at life. Your donation ensures that we can continue to do this work and to save lives for another day – and turn more lemons into lemonade!

Learn how you can help AFH raise funds to purchase new transport vans to replace the aging ones we’re currently using. Visit our #GivingTuesday page and take action today!