Kate Siller is a Nashvillian with a big heart for animals. In fact, she refers to them as her saving grace. “My father — a firefighter — died on 9/11. It has taken me years and years to heal from the trauma, and animals had a big part in that,” she says. “I have always loved animals ever since I was a child, and as an adult, they ended up being my own saving grace. My animals are what help me get out of bed in the morning when I feel I can’t, and they helped me get and stay sober nearly seven years ago.”
Most recently, Kate has opened up her home to a foster puppy named Cowboy, and he is not only stealing Kate’s heart but has captured the attention of thousands on social media, too. He was first discovered by Dogs Deserve Better (DDB), a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping dogs who have been neglected, abused or abandoned. Cowboy’s story is one of hope, tenacity and compassion, and at this time, in particular, Cowboy can teach us an important lesson about overcoming the impossible.
We first came across Cowboy and his journey after seeing this video from Kate on Facebook:
Cowboy came into DDB’s care after his suspected abuser dropped him off with someone, who thought they were just dog sitting. After noticing injuries on Cowboy, this good Samaritan took him to the vet. Unable to afford Cowboy’s medical treatment, this person posted about him in various Nashville Facebook groups, and before long, DDB came to the rescue. When Cowboy first entered their care, he was paralyzed from the waist down, unable to walk or stand, control his bowels or wag his tail. A CT scan later showed multiple bone fractures — likely a result of abuse and neglect. After seeing a post from DDB asking for a medical foster parent, Kate admits the decision to take him in was a no-brainer. “I have a soft spot for pit bulls, and when I saw DDB post Cowboy and their plea for a medical foster, I didn’t have to think twice,” she says. “Luckily, I have experience dealing with animals in Cowboy’s condition, so I figured it would be a good fit!”
Soon thereafter, Kate and DDB learned Cowboy would not be a candidate for surgery, so they took a holistic approach to his recovery process. After weeks of acupuncture and physical therapy, Cowboy began to make miraculous improvements. “Before I knew it, Cowboy was trying to stand — this was mind-blowing,” Kate shares. “We were worried about him outgrowing wheelchairs and started fundraising for more sizes. Then he stood, took steps and actually started walking. Now Cowboy is trying to run! He often falls, but I suspect that will change in the near future. For now, we will continue with acupuncture, physical therapy and lots of love to support Cowboy on his journey of recovery!”
Before Cowboy, Kate had already been welcoming furry friends into her home. For her, animals are a form of therapy and a ray of light — each one teaching her an important lesson. “Animals keep me positive, and their love encourages me to work harder. Animals have taught me about perseverance and the miraculous ability to heal despite the hurdles you must overcome. Cowboy and his story are a testament to that,” says Kate. “Animals have lifted me up on my own road to recovery, so I feel it’s only right to try and do the same for them. Cowboy’s progress is why I do what I do. Why I continue to fight for animals that don’t have a chance because, with them, I also heal.”
Cowboy’s story comes at a time when we all need some good news, and Kate says we can all learn an important lesson from him. “As humans, we often get wrapped up in trivial things. We doubt ourselves and convince ourselves we’re not capable of this or that, and here’s this tiny puppy who was beaten and treated like trash. A puppy we thought would never walk again. A puppy that likely would have been euthanized if he went somewhere else. And he did the impossible,” says Kate. “His story shows us not to give up, to continue to share love, and nothing is impossible. I think Cowboy is a bright light in a very dark time, and I believe his story can give people hope.”
And yet, Cowboy’s story is not over. With a long road to recovery and costly treatments still ahead of him, donations can be made on his behalf HERE. And to follow along on his journey, visit Kate’s Facebook and follow Cowboy on Instagram.
Thank you for sharing Cowboy’s journey with us, Kate! All images and video provided by Kate Siller.
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