Click on the above image to visit our special 125th Anniversary site!
To ring in the new year, we wanted to share some heartwarming stories from our readers about the care their pets received here at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital. Enjoy!
Tribute Paid to Honor Life of Local Dog
Reilly, a pit-bull mix, started life as an abused stray on the streets of West Philly. He followed Alida Shatzer home one day and quickly made the transition to spoiled house pet and eventually therapy dog at a nursing home.
Reilly was the perfect dog. He had all the best traits of the breed, with none of the negative ones. He was protective and stubborn, but very sociable, affectionate and silly. Reilly and his little blue ball were inseparable; he would even take it into his bed at night and put it in his dish while eating.
Two years ago, at 15, Reilly ruptured a cervical disc while chasing his ball at the park. He was paralyzed and in acute pain. Alida rushed him to Penn Vet, where Reilly had risky surgery to remove the disc. The surgeon gave him a 50 percent chance of walking again—if he survived the surgery. After days in intensive care, Reilly came home. He worked with a physiotherapist in a pool and then an underwater treadmill. He hated it, but understood it was helping him regain mobility. One day at the park Alida rolled the ball to him and Reilly actually stood up and walked several feet to bring it back. The entire dog park cheered. Reilly had made a complete recovery.
Reilly’s gentleness throughout his crisis didn't waver; he never growled or snapped. He did become more spoiled afterward, sleeping with a pillow under his head. The hospital staff was so impressed by his character that Reilly was approved as a therapy dog.
Reilly slipped into a coma in his sleep in September 2008 and never woke up. Until then he was still chasing his ball and keeping track of Alida’s other rescued pets: two dogs and six cats. A tribute was held for Reilly later that month to honor the life of such a remarkable animal.
— Sarah Kaderabek
Grady, 11 years old, spent five days at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital in August 2006. We’re happy to say he is doing well. Dr. Slade and the hospital staff definitely saved his life.
We rushed Grady to Ryan on a Saturday on advice from our vet. With thrombocytopenia, Grady was in danger of spontaneously bleeding. When we left him at Ryan that day, we weren’t sure we’d see him again; his condition was grave. But thanks to the Ryan staff, Grady pulled throughl.
Grady took prednisone for a while but he has completely recovered. He is slimmer and more agile than he was two years ago. We appreciated the twice-daily phone calls to keep us up-to-date while he was hospitalized. We left him in the best place possible, and our experience there has a happy ending. We owe big thanks to Penn Vet and highly recommend your facility.
— Pam Allison
A Pack of Three
Buck is a one-year-old Australian cattle dog who stole my heart last winter, when I moved one of my horses to a show barn in Lancaster County. From the first day, Buck met me at my car and followed me everywhere. He belonged to the live-in barn manager. Clearly, we took a liking to each other. I joked with the barn manager that I may have to dog-nap Buck.
In April I moved my horse back to my farm, where I live with two German shepherds and several horses. A week later, my phone rang; Buck’s owner was leaving her job and moving. She couldn't keep Buck and wondered if I could take him. Of course I agreed.
Buck lived in my barn in a horse stall, with a rug, futon and toys for about two months, while I introduced him to my other dogs. I lived a double life—tending to the shepherds at the house, and then doing the same for Buck at the barn. I almost lost hope because of growling and lunging, but with time it worked. Now they are a pack of three and have a great time running around my farm and living in the house together. Buck even comes trail riding with me in the fields!
Not everyone can handle these super-smart and energetic cattle dogs. Had he gone to a shelter, I think many families would have returned him due to his energy level. So a happy ending: Buck is in a good place on my farm and we have many happy years ahead.
Thanks to Penn Vet for the great care you provide our animals. Several of mine have been to New Bolton Center or the Ryan Veterinary Hospital, and it's wonderful to have your excellent services so close!
— Stephanie Flett
Marius and Cosette
In January 1994, after a neighbor heard a cat screaming in an icy schoolyard near our building, I called another neighbor who was a vet at Penn. After a lot of struggling, she was able to extricate the cat from the ice and put it in a box; and we drove to Penn’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital. The cat miraculously (with help from us, everyone at Penn Vet and my older cat, who became a blood donor that day) survived, had her tail amputated even though her frostbitten paws survived, was spayed, spent 12 days at Ryan and finally went home with me. I named her Cosette, for the girl in Les Miserables, because she too was rescued.
— Barbara Pilvin
Muttley and Amelia
Muttley is a six-month-old shepherd mix who came to Ryan through Emergency Service (ES) with parvo. His owner went to park the car and never came back! I am an ES nurse and, after caring for him all night, I fell in love and had to take him home. He spent a week in isolation but made a full recovery. He is now living with a four-year-old tortie kitty named Amelia that I adopted from the ASPCA. She had been given to someone else who returned her, but then I met her and took her home. She is learning to get along with Muttley — I caught her in a moment of tolerance and snapped this photo!
— Sabrina Martin
A Donation in Memory of Paddington
I am enclosing a check for the Friends of Ryan Veterinary Hospital fund in memory of our cockapoo Paddington, who recently was under your care for heart disease. This amount is not nearly enough to convey our appreciation for the love and care Paddington received at Ryan. Every-one was always so friendly and helpful: from the parking attendant, who feels like an old friend, to Paddington’s cardiologist, Dr. Caryn Reynolds, who always had Paddington’s best interest at heart, giving him an extended quality of life beyond what we could have hoped. For that we will be forever grateful.
We are also grateful such a wonderful facility is less than an hour from our home. The staff and students have a real love for the animals; thank you again. All the best as you continue to care for our furry loved ones.
— Michelle Kane
A Small Dog with a Big Heart
Peanut sends his love and gratitude for saving his life. He’s five pounds now, on the six-month mark after his heart surgery. He had his dental bone and 17 teeth removed, but he still loves to eat. He is the sweetest dog; we can’t thank the Ryan Veterinary Hospital enough!
— The Spruill Family