SF SPCA Alumni Profile: Norton

When Norton arrived at our shelter in December, he could barely bend his right hind leg. The muscle deformity was caused by a pelvis fracture and femur fracture that healed poorly. Going for even a short walk was difficult and uncomfortable. At just four months old, Norton had been through a lot in his short life — he just wanted to run and play like any other puppy!

Our Shelter Medicine Team determined that intensive physical therapy would give Norton the best chance at a normal life and help him avoid arthritis, which is common with injuries like his. We wanted to do everything we could to help Norton stay safe and healthy as he continued to grow, so we teamed up with rehabilitation specialist Dr. Ilana Strubel.

For six weeks, Norton attended in-person physical therapy sessions every 4 — 5 days. During that time, he lived in a foster home with volunteers Josh and Mallory. These dedicated volunteers took Norton to his therapy appointments, ensured he got his medication, and helped him daily with special stretches and exercises. Not only was Norton’s mobility slowly improving, he was starting to feel like part of the family. After two months together, Josh and Mallory decided to make it official and adopt him!

Norton’s long journey isn’t over yet, but he’s well on his way.

“Norton is still continuing to improve in the use of his right hind leg, flexing his knee and ankle more when standing and when walking,” said Dr. Strubel. “Due to the nature of the pelvis fracture, Norton’s right hind leg will likely always be shorter than his left hind leg, but he is very comfortable and and has improved significantly.”

Norton will still need to wear various orthopedic devices to help with mobility, especially on outdoor walks and during playtime. His treatment plan includes daily Gabapentin for discomfort and to help him stay calm during rehab sessions, weekly joint support medication, and pain medication as needed. Josh and Mallory are determined to help Norton continue to improve.

It truly took a village to get Norton the care he needed, and we couldn’t do it without your support. Please donate today so we can continue giving cats and dogs in need a second chance.

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