4th grader helps paralyzed dog walk again

By: Ashley Prchal Email
By: Ashley Prchal Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A 4th grade student says he was heartbroken when he was visiting Roice-Hurst Humane Society and came across a paralyzed dog, so he teamed up with some fellow students do something about it.

Today the dog is walking again and the Humane Society says it's all because of the love and attention he received from the students.

Austin Rush, a 4th grader at Orchard Avenue Elementary School, had a mission to help Blue walk and be like a normal dog.

“I thought it was really, really sad how he wasn't by any other dogs. He was just in a small cage. He couldn't move around,” says Rush.

Blue had a spinal cord stroke that caused him to be paralyzed. Some dogs recover and others don't, but Blue's recovery was slow and vets said if he ever wanted to move again a wheelchair was his only option.

“He couldn't move. All he would be able to do was sit up and sleep,” says Rush.

So Rush wrote a proposal and asked his principal and teachers if he could organize a fundraiser to raise money for a wheelchair for Blue.

“He had told the story of meeting Blue and how he really felt like we as a community needed to help Blue and Roice-Hurst,” says Denis Hoctor, principal at Orchard Avenue Elementary.

With teachers and students on board, Rush formed a committee to help with the fundraisers. The held a penny contest, a bake sale and sold paper paws.

“I’ve never seen a dog paralyzed before and I think it's really nice to help a dog become more active,” says Aaron Greenwalt a committee member.

“I just like that you're saving like a person’s life except for you are saving a dog's life so someone else could have a great job,” says Derek Vecchia another committee member.

And in the process of raising money for a wheelchair a miracle happened. Blue is walking again.

“Thanks to Austin and his friends, I think they made a huge impact with helping him to just have that will to really want to get better,” says Denise Lashmett, executive director for Roice-Hurst.

And vets say he's going to make a full recovery. “He can get up by himself. He can walk. He hops and he's getting more playful and I guess it's just a question of time for him to have full function of his legs and hips again” says Lashmett.

For Rush and the students of Orchard Avenue Elementary, it's a lesson that even kids can impact the world.

“I think the really important thing we can all learn from this is one person, regardless of their age anyone can make a difference,” Lashmett says.

And it all started with one simple desire. “I just wanted to help him so he could walk and be like a normal dog,” says Rush.

Blue is now available for adoption and if you think he would make a great addition to your family. Contact Roice-Hurst at (970) 434-7337.

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  • by Gregory Pollock Location: Los Angeles on Dec 6, 2009 at 04:50 AM
    It's time to put Austin on the fast track to being the next Mayor of Grand Junction! How old do you have to be, to be Mayor? Happy Holidays Gregory Pollock, CEO/Dir. W****** German Shepherd Rescue of Los Angeles Inc. EOM
  • by Anonymous on Dec 2, 2009 at 10:33 AM
    As a volunteer at Roice Hurst it is so important to do the things Austin and his schoolmates are doing. Blue has improved so much in the past few weeks and I am sure its from the love and attention he gets from everyone who visits and the shelter staff.
  • by Amy Jo Location: GJ on Dec 2, 2009 at 09:13 AM
    What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.
  • by peg Location: gj on Dec 2, 2009 at 08:14 AM
    I think Austin is an inspiration to all of us. We can all make a difference and HE has shown us all that caring can change the world. Way to go Austin and Blue!
  • by Leslie Location: Westminster, Colorado on Dec 2, 2009 at 07:13 AM
    What a wonderful story -- just in time for the holidays! Austin and his schoolmates and Orchard Avenue Elementary School staff are so inspiring. What a wonderful testament to the love children have for animals! Thank you for running this piece!
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