When it comes to Heroes, sometimes you wonder who saves who.
J.R. Griffith was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he was only 33 years old. His disease presents itself in attacks. The first time he experienced one of these attacks, the entire right side of his body became numb, from his right toe to the top of his head. J.R. never knows when these attacks will happen or for how long. One attack left him bedridden for six weeks. These attacks leave J.R. dizzy, disoriented and depressed. They negatively affect his memory, the way his brain functions and overall quality of life. When J.R. turned 40, his symptoms became so severe that he had to discontinue working.
Wanting to do something to celebrate his 45th birthday, J.R.'s wife suggested getting a dog to keep him company. Thinking he already had enough to take care of, J.R. nixed the idea. J.R.'s wife is a nurse and was studying holistic healing at the time. She insisted the idea of canine companionship would be therapeutic and brought J.R. to the League of Animal Welfare, a no-kill organization.
That was where he met Boo Boo. The year-and-a-half-old Border Collie and Chow mix had black fur with white on his chest, two white back paws and soft brown eyes that could melt your heart. And it's hard to say no with a melted heart.
The responsibility of taking care of Boo forced J.R. to begin talking walks. The dog needed to walk, so he would as well. That bit of progress encouraged J.R. to do more, so he began lifting weights and building strength in the rest of his body. Little by little, J.R. began to feel better about himself and his future.
Boo and J.R. quickly became inseparable. Where J.R. would go, Boo would go, to the bank, to church and running errands. Boo was welcomed at every house in the neighborhood. It was rare to see one without the other.
In January of 2013 Boo and J.R. were taking a midnight walk around the neighborhood when Boo was hit by a car while crossing the street. Black dogs can be hard to see in the dark, and it took just a split second for the car to accidentally clip him. Boo's vet, Dr. Jack Shepherd contacted veterinary surgeon, Dr. Brian Ward immediately to help fix Boo's severed tendon. Dr. Ward suggested three options: 1. Amputate Boo's leg, 2. Perform surgery to connect the tendon back together using metal plates, 3. Put Boo down.
All day J.R. laid on the floor of Grady Animal Hospital next to his best friend, praying for guidance. He knew he couldn't let Boo suffer. J.R. had made up his mind to put Boo out of his misery the next day, but when they brought Boo into the room, everything changed. In that moment, J.R. realized that he would do anything for the dog who saved his life.
Dr. Ward performed the surgery and recommended using a Hero Carpal Brace as part of the recovery process. J.R. believes that the Hero Brace has been integral in getting Boo back on his feet again. With his brace, Boo has been able to rebuild strength in his limbs and regain mobility without worrying about re-injury. Boo has even learned when he should use the brace, whether going on walks or walking on slippery surfaces. He is back to his midnight walks with J.R. and isn't slowing down for a minute.
It has been almost two years since the accident and J.R. realizes their roles have been reversed. "If it wasn't for Boo helping to get me stronger," J.R. says, "I would never have been able to take care of him."
Just another story about a Hero saving the day. But who is really saving who, that is the question.