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Jerry Lee Forest

  Forest  

 

From the Stamford Times, 11/12/08 .. link to article

Barbara Flannery took one glance at Forest swimming in his little yellow life jacket, and she knew she had to adopt the four-month-old German Shepherd.

"My other Shepherd, Jack, has a form of MS (multiple sclerosis), so I take him to physical therapy at Pawz For Wellness in Shelton -- that's when I met Forest," said Flannery, who adopted Forest two months ago from the Stamford Animal Care and Control shelter. "I took one look at his adorable face and I knew he was the perfect dog for me."

Isabele Morales, treasurer for Outreach to Pets in Need (OPIN), a nonprofit organization that fundraises for Stamford Animal Care and Control, said Forest was born with a lot of rare medical issues,
including MS, which are still being researched by the University of Tennessee.

"Forest was born without bones for his sockets in his legs, which is rare, but he also has a lot of other medical problems that a lot of vets could not determine exactly what was wrong with him, and they are still studying his condition," said Morales. "We do know that Forest has to go through a long process of physical therapy that may last his entire life."

Forest, who had a difficult time walking when he was born, was originally brought to the Rippowam Animal Hospital by his breeder last spring to be put to sleep. The hospital, however, contacted the
director of Stamford Animal Care and Control, Laurie Hollywood, to see if the shelter could help Forest find a home.

Hollywood said the shelter was the perfect place for Forest to get the help he needed.

"When the hospital contacted me, I told them I would definitely try to find him a home," she said. "In the mean time, I contacted OPIN to get funding for a Forest's physical therapy."

After Forest was taken in by Stamford Animal Care and Control, there were several requests to adopt Forest, but not everyone was a perfect fit for Forest, said Hollywood.

"There were a couple good people that wanted to take Forest in, but I wanted to make sure that Forest would be in the right home for his condition," she said. "Barbara already had experience with her other Shepherd, who had problems walking around, and she lived in the area, so the shelter could keep an eye on Forest's progress."

Flannery, who resides in Shelton, adopted Forest on Sept. 12, and she says she couldn't have asked for a better behaved dog.

"Forest never barks, he never wanders off and he never bites -- well, at first he wanted to chew everything in my house, but thankfully that has stopped," said Flannery. "I think he is the perfect fit."

Forest has been going to physical therapy at Pawz for Wellness, where he swims in a pool to increase the strength in his back legs. His strength has increased immensely in the past few months, said Flannery.

"Nov. 4 marked his (Forest's) six month ... birthday, and I think he really looks healthy," she said. "The swimming has really helped a lot, and I can even tell he feels stronger because he jumps around and plays more than he used to. It's a good feeling."

Forest's new name is "Jerry Lee," said Flannery, but she keeps his nickname as Forest because that is what most people know him as.

"Whenever I take him for walks in the park, I can't tell you how many people stop me and ask if he is the dog from the video on the Internet," said Forest, who appeared in a video on the Stamford Animal
Care and Control Web site, http://www.cityofstamford.org/animalcontrol. "It's like he is a celebrity."

Flannery said she doesn't know how she lived without Forest. "At first I thought, 'oh geeze, I adopted another dog with a disability. Am I really going to be able to handle this?' But it has been a breeze," said Flannery. "Jerry Lee (Forest) and Jack get along so great. They both are great company -- I wouldn't trade my life or my dogs for the world."