Kerneelz, a deaf and partially blind 14-year-old dog with ailments that also make it hard for him to move, has received a helping hand from a partially deaf and blind Kirstenhof man.
Daryn Sutton has launched a BackaBuddy campaign for the ailing boxer. Kerneelz, who is owned by Greta Wilson, of Lakeside, has paresis, which causes partial paralysis of the hind limbs, and idiopathic vestibular disease, a balance disorder.
Mr Sutton, who started losing his hearing from a young age and his sight in his early 40s, says he can sympathise with Kerneelz.
“I met Kerneelz’s owner, Greta, six years ago at a guide-dogs fund-raiser with her partially deaf rescue boxer. We embarked upon endless nature adventures, which we still do from time to time.
“With his recent partial paralysis and vestibular disease diagnoses, Kerneelz’s mobility is compromised, and with his also being stone deaf and partially blind, it’s safe to say that Kerneelz has my sympathies.
“I truly know what all of this feels like and how it can greatly impair one’s getting about one’s daily business.”
Despite his own challenges, Mr Sutton chose to launch a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to help Kerneelz because of the special bond they share.
According to Mr Sutton, Ms Wilson, is self-employed and cannot afford the high cost of Kerneelz’s physiotherapy, and Kerneelz’s current pet medical insurance has been used up and does not cover physiotherapy or acupuncture.
Ms Wilson, who sells raw pet food across Cape Town, said Kerneelz had been by her side through her late 30s, 40s and into her 50s.
“We have faced many obstacles together, and I can’t imagine my life without him. He still has quality of life, and I am in constant contact with the vet and physio team.”
Dr Heidi Kuhn, Kerneelz’s vet, said there was a chance that physiotherapy could help the boxer regain some improved use of his hind legs.
To prolong his life and manage his pain Kerneelz is seeing an animal physiotherapist and has weekly sessions that consist of manual manipulation, soft-tissue massages, laser treatments, core-stability strengthening and proprioception exercises. He is also seeing a veterinary acupuncturist once a week. Once Kerneelz is deemed less weak and frail, he will begin hydrotherapy sessions on a water treadmill operated by an animal physiotherapist.
So far the fund-raising campaign has raised R7000 of its R100 000 target.
Ms Wilson said that was the tip of the iceberg when one took into account the weekly cost of acupuncture (R660 a session), physiotherapy (R550 a session) and hydrotherapy (R440 a session).