Matilda's Story Part One: Matilda Becomes a Foundation Dog

Matilda Becomes a Foundation Dog

Imagine living the first four years of your life unable to straighten your legs because they’re too painful. No straightening means no walking, running, or standing properly. It means no muscle development. It means trying to ambulate by using your spine and hips to swing your legs forward. It invites arthritis. It means constant Matilda the chihuahua being examined by Two Hands Four Paws veterinarianpain except when lying still. Imagine you’re an energetic Chihuahua, unable to move! How does that square? It doesn’t!

That was Matilda’s situation when she became one of the “Foundation Dogs” at Two Hands Four Paws in Los Angeles. Our clinic established the non-profit Two Hands Four Paws Foundation in 2016 to help the rescue and shelter dogs that would have no chance of being adopted because of injuries or disabilities.  Shelters are full of loving, lovable animals, desperate for a home. The injured and broken ones? No chance. That’s where the Foundation comes in. Donations from our wonderful supporters help cover the costs of surgeries, therapy, medications, etc. We add our expertise and a lot of love, and we have a pretty amazing record of getting these dogs into great homes.

Matilda the chihuahua sitting on a Christmas blanketMatilda was rescued from a hoarding situation where over 100 dogs were being kept inside someone’s house. She was unable to walk because both of her patellas (kneecaps) were luxated off to the side, effectively locking her stifles (knees) in a bent position. Straightening them was excruciating. She had no access to a veterinarian. To get around she adopted a slow crawl/shuffle/wiggle movement that was almost as difficult to watch as it was to perform.

Additionally, Matilda has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), an inherited condition that affects her body’s ability to produce the collagen that supports connective tissues.  This can result in weak, stretchy skin, which will tear easily. Relatively minor trauma can produce large gaping wounds. When we first saw her our hearts sank, as she couldn’t stand up or walk and she had holes in her skin. She looked so pathetic!!!!

But, while her physical side was a mess, her insides were pure gold. Matilda is loving, cuddly, funny, and has that unique ability to act as if the horrible past never happened. She instantly was living in the “here and now.” So the “here” became a safe, warm space inside our dog rehab center. The “now” became “It’s now time to see a surgeon and see if we can get you right.”

Welcome, Matilda. Time to get to work!

Next Up: Part Two- Under the Knife


  • Dog Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy