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(ABC 6 News) – A person’s love and devotion to their pet is an unbreakable bond.

But it’s not always easy for some people to keep up with the needs of animals, and a group of Olmsted County volunteers is lending a helping hand.

Sawyer, an 8-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix, is partially paralyzed and incontinent.

His owner, Lisa Teske, was physically unable to provide the support he needed, and she feared she would have to put him down. That’s when Pet Partners stepped in.

Teske had just undergone emergency surgery in October 2022 when Sawyer woke up with all feeling in his back legs.

“It turns out he has degenerative disc disease, there was no injury, he just woke up and couldn’t walk,” Teske explains. “It turned out he had blown out five discs in his back, just completely blown out.”

Sawyer underwent immediate spinal surgery, the vet said he had an 80% chance of walking.

Teske, having just undergone an operation of his own, was unable to lift her and help her with daily tasks.

That’s when her vet connected her with Sue Stanek, an Olmsted County social worker and founder of Pet Partners, a volunteer group dedicated to helping pet parents in need.

“We don’t have a rehab here in the city that can step in and get someone this help, so it could be that you have to put your pet down because you don’t have someone who can help you. We don’t want that,” says Stanek.

Stanek explains that people help in many ways, from helping to find foster homes to financial assistance.

Volunteer Janil Gallon is currently caring for Sawyer, helping him live in a wheelchair. She has worked with Pet Partners for over a decade.

“Quite a few years ago I became aware of the fact that All Three is an email list of people to help with pet care donations. So I joined that list and from there I contacted Sue and just read the emails about needs and wants and filled in where I could,” Gallon says.

“I love my dog ​​to pieces, I would do anything for him, but I can’t take care of him like that,” says Teske. “[Gallon is] providing day-to-day care for him right now while I can’t, and it’s just been a tremendous gift. I couldn’t do it, I can’t do what he’s doing.”

Sawyer attends physical therapy every week, full of life and energy.

“He’s the true meaning of resilience, he’s not sad, his life is far from meaningless, he’s just a happy guy,” Stanek says.

After several months of rehabilitation and a lot of hard work, Sawyer is regaining feeling in his leg.

Teske has set up a GoFundMe in his honor to support Pet Partners.

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