Watson, a 4.5-year-old Golden Retriever, has been named 2017 Pet Parade pet of the year.
Watson has been through a lot in his short life. Back in the spring of 2016, the Mann family was devastated when Watson got hit by a car.
A neighbor had rung their doorbell asking if Watson was home. Annamarie assumed he was downstairs, but the neighbor wasn’t so sure. That’s when Annamarie found Watson less than a block away, lying in the road with a sheet over him.
Watson wound up getting out after the strong wind blew the back gate open. He ran across a street, and unfortunately the driver didn’t have time to stop.
They rushed Watson to the nearest vet, where they found out that his spine was severed and his back legs were paralyzed. Annamarie and her husband, Geoff, were heartbroken, and even more sad to hear that every vet and person they talked to suggested that they euthanize Watson.
After talking to each other about it and putting a lot of thought into it, they finally called the clinic and told them they wanted to end Watson’s suffering.
But once they hung up the phone, something didn’t sit right with them. They could feel it in the pit of their stomach’s that something just wasn’t right.
The Mann’s decided to change their mind and not euthanize Watson. Although they had no clue what his quality of life would be, they still wanted to give him a second chance.
And Watson has certainly made the most of his second chance. Actually, “made the most of” is an understatement!
The road that followed wasn’t an easy one. Aside from being paralyzed, Watson also had broken ribs. His family would have to carry him outside on a blanket and used a wagon to take him on walks. The paralysis made Watson lose the ability to go to the bathroom on his own, so his family had to help him with that as well.
Even though Watson was healing, he still managed to help others heal as well. One of his caretakers had moved to the area after her husband was killed by a drunk driver. With Watson’s help, the woman began seeing changes in herself and her own life, for the better.
“He helped her heal, which is pretty remarkable,” Annamarie told PEOPLE. “I know he’s a dog, but you really can learn a lot from this situation.”
Watson now has a wheelchair and has adjusted nicely to life on wheels. He remains active and is still a very important part of the family.