It takes a special person to devote time and resources to rehabilitating paralyzed dogs, and for Claire-Louise Nixon, a dog-lover helping paralyzed pups from around the world, rehab is a full-time job.
Nixon, 48, shares her modest 4-bedroom home with her husband, Gary, and 22-year-old daughter, Rhia-Louise. They also share their home with 27 medically fragile dogs, many of which cannot walk and come with traumatic pasts.
Nixon has found her niche in life, caring for sick and disabled dogs who are paralyzed, have cleft palates, have lost limbs because of mines and explosives in former war zones, or have found harsh and abusive lives on the streets.
Nixon takes the pups in, assesses their needs, and devotes endless time and patience to giving these dogs the best possible life, in spite of their intense medical needs.
She has taught dogs to walk that veterinarians had deemed hopeless. When an injured dog enters the Nixon home, the pooch is home forever.
“When I get these dogs who are in such a bad way, the vet would say, ‘Claire, you won’t get them walking again,'” Nixon told the Daily Mail.
“But now they say nothing is impossible! They say we work miracles with them!”
“I think all they need is love, kindness and patience,” Nixon said. “When they walk into my house they see other dogs like them so they don’t feel any different that’s why I think they do so well here.”
Nixon finds ways to fuel her dogs’ desires to walk again.
“If you give them a reason to walk again then they will,” she said.
Nixon gives her dogs celebrity names, like Sir Elton John and Kylie Minogue, Forest Gump and Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Elton John, a Jack Russell mix, earned his name after learning to walk again. His determination and fortitude reminded Nixon of Sir Elton’s tune, “I’m Still Standing.”
“The dogs arrive with the most horrible past we give them love and wonderful future. They come from all over the world but with me they are home forever,” Nixon said.
Caring for the dogs is all-consuming. Nixon is awake at 6 a.m. and works until midnight making sure each dog is cared for, including some who need to wear diapers due to incontinence issues.
She goes through tremendous amounts of food, and vet costs are ongoing and hefty. Nixon founded a non-profit organization, Wheels to Paws UK, to keep up with the ongoing medical and health expenses for her pups.
After 12 years of helping wounded dogs, veterinarians seek out Nixon when they need to place a medically fragile dog in a loving home, knowing they will be in good hands.
“It is tremendous hard work but I can’t tell you how rewarding it is. The love these dogs give back is amazing,” Nixon said. “I would not be without any single one of them.”
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