Val Freestone and Peppi accept the gold award from the judge at a recent event; Peppi’s first since her back legs were paralyzed in an accident.

Gold award caps amazing comeback for plucky dog Peppi

A terrible accident last year almost put an end to Peppi's agility trials; but the little dog made a big comeback.

Ashcroft resident Val Freestone and her 11-year-old dog Peppi—a Chihuahua/terrier mix—have been competing in agility trials throughout southern B.C. since 2009, with Peppi racking up an impressive number of ribbons and medals along the way. However, disaster struck the pair last year, when Peppi was severely injured in a freak accident.

It happened at the Canadian Nationals in the Fraser Valley, where Peppi was in a holding pen, waiting to compete. She somehow got loose from the pen and went running off in search of Freestone, and a bystander stepped on her leash to stop her.

When Freestone came back to the pen someone was holding Peppi. “I offered her a drink, but she didn’t want it,” says Freestone. She put Peppi down on the ground and offered her a treat; but when Peppi tried to move toward it, she could only drag her back legs behind her.

“I took her to a vet on the site, and she said that when she squeezed Peppi’s legs there was no reaction,” says Freestone. “I was so scared she would never walk again.”

Peppi was taken to a nearby vet hospital, where she underwent a CT scan and an MRI. The report was not good: she had a herniated disc that had left her hind legs paralyzed. Peppi underwent an operation the next day, and Freestone was told her dog had a 95 per cent chance of walking again.

She knew that Peppi would need a lot of rehabilitation: a process complicated by the fact that Freestone was scheduled for knee surgery and would not be mobile for a time. She left Peppi with dog therapist Jen Panko for three weeks, and Peppi started the rehab process under Jen’s direction. “Jen can get Peppi to do things that I can’t!” laughs Freestone.

The pair had to take it easy when they returned to Ashcroft, and eventually Peppi was able to walk and run. In January 2016 Peppi was X-rayed by a vet, who said everything looked fine, and that Peppi could take part in agility trials again.

Freestone says that even though Peppi was given the all-clear, they did no real agility practice. They did, however, go to a few trials, and at the end of October found themselves competing in Abbotsford, more than a year after Peppi’s accident.

Peppi did well, and it all came down to one time trial that had to be completed in under 76 seconds. Freestone says that Peppi clocked in at 75.83 seconds; a good enough showing to win her the gold award of merit. It will go with the silver and bronze awards Peppi had previously won at the same event.

“Now that she has a gold, we won’t be doing any more events this year,” says Freestone. “I am so happy, and proud of my little girl.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Off-duty Burnaby officer helps apprehend Cache Creek car thief fleeing towards Clinton

‘This is just one example of how we are always ready to respond to emergencies’

Savona athletes bring bronze medals back from BC Winter Games

Akira Susanj and Alexander Teague both competed in Karate events

Drag races returning to Campbell Hill for Graffiti Days weekend

Four events are planned at the dragstrip starting in May

Historic Hat Creek set new visitor record during 2019 season

Heritage site looking to build on last year’s success in 2020

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read