By Deidre Grieves
No dog should have to endure what happened to Frances. The longhaired Dachshund was found in the Lawncrest neighborhood of Philadelphia—put out on the streets in the freezing cold like garbage.
“A Good Samaritan found a dog in their neighborhood in a trash bag,” says Gillian Kocher, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA). “It’s not every day that you find a dog in a trash bag. Dogs aren’t trash. They are living, breathing beings that deserve to be cared for and loved.”
That Good Samaritan brought Frances to an animal shelter in the city and she was eventually transferred to the care of the PSPCA. Shelter workers brought Frances to the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital where doctors quickly realized that Frances was paralyzed in her hind limbs and couldn’t walk. She also couldn’t feel anything in her back legs. “We know from her status—and from studies of dogs—that once they have lost that ability to feel, doing a large surgery isn’t actually going to restore their ability to move or to walk or to feel most of the time,” says Dr. Jonathan Wood, who specializes in neurology at the hospital.
Wood and his team assessed that Frances’ injury was an old one, and decided that the dog would be better off without surgery.
After staying in the hospital to recover, the PSPCA started working to find Frances a caring, loving home. That’s where Christine Gacano and her family come in. Gancano immediately fell in love with Frances and welcomed the dog into her home with open arms.
“I give the best to my dogs—I treat them like my kids,” says Gancano with tears in her eyes. “I can’t imagine somebody actually doing that act of putting her in a bag and putting her out in the cold in January.”
Frances is fitting in nicely with the Gancano clan, which also includes two other Dachshunds. To help Frances get around, the veterinary team at PennVet made Frances a custom set of wheels so that she can walk, run, and play with her other furry family members. “I didn’t know how she was going to take to it, but she didn’t mind at all,” says Dr. Alex Tun. “She immediately started to take off down the hallway.”
Frances’ disability presents no concern for Gancano and her family, who are thrilled to have Frances as part of their lives. “Every single day I can’t wait to get up and see her in the morning,” says Gancano. “She brings happiness to every single person she comes in contact with. All she wants to do is love and be loved.”
Frances’ case is still under investigation in Pennsylvania.