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Paralyzed pup Dixie defies the odds to learn how to walk again

A foster mom refused to take no for an answer when she was told her dog would never walk again.

Dixie is out to prove everyone wrong. 

This sweet dog was shot and left for dead in Alabama. When a rescue group picked her up in Georgia, they were told she would never walk again -- but Dixie's supporters refuse to take no for an answer. 

"Come on Dixie, come on, stand up! Good girl! Good girl," said her water therapy trainer, Eva. 

Dixie is surrounded by love. 

Her foster Mom, Dr. Paula Rothman, would do anything to help Dixie. 

"I just love seeing the progress. I know we are getting closer to our goal. It feels like we are getting closer," she said. 

When Dixie first came to Georgia, she was told there was no hope. 

"She was shot twice and found in a ditch. ... she was shot twice. One bullet went completely through her abdomen without touching any of her vital organs, and the other one lodged in her spine," she said. 

Credit: WXIA
Dixie was found shot twice and abandoned in Alabama. Now in Georgia, her foster mom hopes to get her walking again as she seeks out her forever family.

But when Dr. Rothman got Dixie in a wheelchair, she could see her back legs were still moving. 

She took that as a sign and ran with it.  

"I wanted that for her, to have that life, and that freedom, and not be confined to a chair. And to experience all of those things that a dog should be able to experience. Being outside on a beautiful day, going for walks, going to the beach," she said.

So she started in the pool! 

Dr. Rothman signed Dixie up for water therapy twice a week to try and get movement back in to her legs. 

She started a specialized diet, and Dixie gets acupuncture once a week. As a doctor, she always recommended alternative therapies for her human patients, so she thought it might work for Dixie, too. 

Credit: WXIA
Dr. Rothman, Dixie and water trainer Eva at the therapy pool.

"I think she'll explore the world differently if she's able to have function. And she'll have more freedom, she'll have way more freedom and she'll have a much better life. And part of that is not taking no for an answer," she said. 

And they're already seeing progress. 

Her chest is getting stronger, and she can plant her left leg and put weight on it. 

 Dr. Rothman says they won't stop. 

"I think the underdog, the fight of the underdog. The fact that we've taken her from a place of no hope to now seeing the optimism and the life she's going to have," she said.  

Credit: WXIA
Dixie moves around with the help of a specialized wheelchair.

She wants Dixie to inspire people.

"Realize that it's not the end of the road, it's the beginning of a new life for her.

They initially set their goal for Dixie to walk by 2020, but looking at her progress, they moved that up to the end of the summer.

So stay tuned, Dixie is going to be moving soon! 

Dixie is searching for her forever home. If you think you would be a good fit for Dixie, contact the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia


This story was produced by 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross as part of her K9Kait series, which highlights stories about dogs and animal issues across Georgia. Follow along and get the latest animal news on the K9Kait Facebook page.