Special Assignment

Woman has mission to change life of dog no one else wanted

CREATED Jan. 22, 2013

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MENOMONEE FALLS - Sadie the dog loves her massage at Pet World Warehouse in Menomonee Falls.

Jessica Dragan has been massaging pets for years. She loves when she gets to see Sadie. "Her favorite spots to be massaged are her neck, her shoulders, and her sacrum or tailbone, she just loves it," Dragan exclaims.

Dragan massages many dogs, some just as a special treat from their owner, others for therapeutic reasons.

"I push all the toxins out of the muscles, push 'em out with my fingers and hands," Dragan explains.

For Sadie it's not about pomp and pampering. Dragan explains, "I gotta be careful, work with the neck muscles because there's some extra straining going on just because she can't use those hind legs."

Sadie was shot in the woods of Kentucky last April, and left for dead. A good samaritan found her, and eventually Sadie ended up in a Wisconsin shelter. She was shot in the head, right between the eyes and the back. She still has all the shrapnel and bullets in her back, which cannot be removed.

Joal Derse-Dauer saw Sadie's fighting spirit, and had to take her home.

"Believe me this was not on my bucket list to rehab a paralyzed dog, it just wasn't. However, she's very thankful, and thats what makes it all worthwhile," Joal says.

Joal works full-time, and rehabs Sadie with various therapies like pet massage. She admits, "How do I do it? Uh... you know what, that's a good question. You know people who have normal lives and say, 'Let's take a walk after work,' or something like that. It's like, you don't understand, there's no after work for me."

It's worth it though! Sadie is now walking, even if she needs to drag her hind legs.

"It is possible she could walk normally. We're gonna be realistic though in our goals as far as how she's going to do, after everything is said and done," Dragan says.

Despite her challenges you can tell this persevering pooch is very happy, and loving her second chance at life.

"She's just taught me so much. She will not sit down in a car, because she's absorbing all the traffic and everything that life has to offer," Joal explains.

In fact, Sadie has given Joal a whole new outlook on her own life. "She has taught me, we have to love not only animals and people, no matter what kind of baggage they have, and I think it's abslutely huge, because we all have baggage."

You can also meet Sadie! She makes appearances at Pet World Warehouses across the area. You can find that information on her 'Saving Sadie' webpage.