A therapy dog who showed up for bereaved families following the Surfside condo collapse in Miami is now in need of humans to show up for him.
Teddy, a 6-year-old basset hound-Labrador mix from Philadelphia, came to Surfside, Florida, with a team of crisis response pups immediately following the devastation last month. Since then, he’s been on site to greet those who come to look for and mourn the dozens of loved ones lost in the collapse.
But in a heartbreaking turn of events, the do-gooding has taken a toll on Teddy, who — after three weeks of non-stop caregiving — awoke last week unable to pick himself up.
“He’s just not able to walk,” Dr. Tonya Carswell, Teddy’s attending doctor in Florida, told CBS 4 in Miami.
“It appears that he has a possible herniated disc, as well as a partial tear of his cranial crucial ligament in his knee,” Dr. Beth Hirschfeld, a veterinary acupuncturist, told the station.
Along with traditional physical therapy, Teddy is receiving laser therapy and acupuncture to relieve his symptoms.
“I’m scared of him not being able to walk again,” said owner Sophia Barrett, speaking to CBS4. “He’s such an active dog … It would completely impact the quality of his life because that’s what he does.”
Teddy sprang into action with his “psychological first aid” response team — from the nonprofit group Crisis Response Canines — just after the tragic collapse on June 23, in which at least 97 people have been confirmed dead.
“Animals of the emergency crisis response — they’re having a lot of things that they’re having to deal with,” said Carswell, pinpointing heat, hot pavement, constant walking and climbing through wreckage.
“We go down and we make rounds to the advocacy center, the reunification center, down at ground zero where search and rescue and recovery is taking place,” explained Barrett.
Teddy and his human, currently staying with family in Florida, are eager to get back to Philly as Teddy continues to recuperate, but the long-distance travel ahead has complicated their plans.
Now, Barrett hopes Teddy’s kindness over the years will be returned to him 10-fold — through a fundraiser that hopes to see the downtrodden dog safely flown home to his feline brother and sister.
“The one big thing is having a plane chartered to get him home because a commercial airline would not be safe for him as well as driving all the way to Philadelphia,” said Barrett, who works there at a suicide prevention organization.
Donations to aid in Teddy’s recovery and journey home can be made through GoFundMe.