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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Marshall the Dalmatian's Story

We have always wanted a dalmatian! When we lived in our neighborhood home 7 years ago and the kids were very young, infant-9 years old, we met an adult dalmatian who was being fostered by a local rescue. It wasn't a good fit and after doing more research we didn't pursue that dog or the breed again until our kids were much older.

March 2018 - Marshall at 2 months old
We were so excited for this pup we prayed for and waited for!

March 2018 - Marshall at 2 months old
Daddy's baby

Seven years passed and we now live on a farm, hubby becomes a local volunteer firefighter, kids are all 8 and older and we decide to pursue adding a dalmatian to our family again. The two rescues we contacted said they had none of the dogs in their care would fit in our home because dalmatians are not good with kids and our kids were "too young" and dalmatians are not good with farm animals and we have "too many" animals......

March 2018 - Marshall at 2 months old
The most adorable spotty baby ever!!!

I worked in rescue for YEARS, I used to be that high and mighty adoption specialist who could deem if you are worthy of a dog or not. I crammed the "adopt, don't shop" mantra down everyone's throats. I regret not loving people more and being more compassionate and gracious during that time in my life. But since we wouldn't be able to rescue we researched breeders who had family dogs, not kennels, and would raise a litter of pups in their home with their kids. 

March 2018 - Marshall at 2 months old
Never too far from daddy!

April 2018 - Marshall at 3 months old
Silly, sweet boy!

That is when we found a black/white heterochromia-eyed pup in AL whose picture captured our heart! We waited and prayed, then drove up to pick up this submissive, shy and trembling pup. He was the shyest in his litter, we met them all, and the only one who wasn't bouncing around the yard curiously exploring. Brian said he was definitely the one and he spent the first two months being of his life being carried around or laying on our chest. He blossomed and is the most loyal and cuddly dog we have ever owned!

May 2018 - Marshall at 4 months old
I had just run him over, he survived diaphragm surgery and he was hospitalized and waiting for orthopedic surgery.

May 2018 - Marshall at 4 months old
Marshall is home with his external fixiator on his leg recovering.

Not having a baby in the house for near 7 years this was our new BABY! But then an accident happened that crushed my heart. I was coming home and parking the trailer in the field, thinking all kids and dogs were inside, and a flash of dogs zoomed past. Then the yelp, I will forever have that yelp and what I saw next etched in my nightmares.

June 2018 - Marshall at 5 months old
Marshall going in to vet to remove external fixiator

June 2018 - Marshall at 5 months old.
Now he was on bed rest for leg to heal.

I immediately stopped, hoppped out of the car and saw only the head and front paws of my sweet spotty baby sticking out under my tire. I backed up off his body and assuming he was dead I hunched over and wailed for someone to go get his little body. That is when Anthony who held him said, "he is alive." I ushered the kids inside and had Brian hold Marshall while I drove. I didn't want the kids to watch him die in the car on the way to the vet. 

July 2018 - Marshall at 6 months old
Even the cats adore Marshall! <3

July 2018 - Marshall at 6 months old
Still really sensitive on leg, had no muscle in it at all.

July 2018 - Marshall at 6 months old
Posing on our antique fire truck

We cried and prayed while Marshall took deep labored gasps for air, each one I worried would be he last. But he was still with us when we arrived at the vet and they rushed him to the back. They made it clear that there was a very low chance he would survive surgery as they didn't know how many organs were ruptured and bones were broken until they opened him up. And even if he didn't make it, it would cost us at minimum $3k to try to save him. Not trying was not an option.

July 2018 - Marshall at 6 months old
Posing with our unicorn, Blondie, during an event!

August 2018 - Marshall at 7 months old
Beautiful boy!!! <3

We went home not knowing the call we would recieve, I cried myself to sleep begging God that if he gave Marshall life we would use that precious dog's life to glorify Him! The call came at 2am, they repaired Marshall's busted diaphragm but all Marshall's organs were miraculously intact. The only thing still broken was his leg, but that would need an orthopedic surgeon later when Marshall recovered from the first, life-saving surgery. 

August 2018 - Marshall at 7 months old
We loved the dalmatian breed so much we drove to north GA to buy our sweet Penny from another wonderful breeder!

September 2018 - Marshall at 8 months old
Enjoying his first day at dog beach in Panama City!

After a week in the hospital and us visiting daily they said he was ready for us to make a decision on his broken left hind leg. It was broken in 8 places, we could have it removed or try to repair it thru surgery. We trusted our vet's, Dr. Simmons, advice and agreed to allow him to try to repair the leg. Recovery was faster than expected but every day I lifted Marshall in and out of his "rest" area and down the steps to go potty. I grieved the pain I caused my baby pup but he showed me over and over he didn't blame me and loved me more than ever. 

October 2018 - Marshall at 8 months old
Riding with daddy in the fire truck!

October 2018 - Marshall at 9 months old
PAW PATROL photo-op station!

Marshall's once broken leg did heal and our vet assures us he is pain free, but he did suffer a couple growth plate fractures causing the left leg to be slightly deformed and 3-4" shorter than his right "good" leg. We get asked about it, "what happened to his leg" all the time, everywhere we go. I am sensitive to it because of the whole experience but I try to graciously tell the story again and again. 

November 2018 - Marshall at 10 months old
Doing what he was bred to do!

November 2018 - Marshall at 10 months old
He may be more human than other dogs.....

November 2018 - Marshall at 10 months old
and his beloved little Penny girl at 6 months old

From my tiny spotted 6lb pup to my 60lbs miraculous gift from God, worth every dime, every prayer and all my love!!! <3

December 2018 - Marshall at 11 months old
With his Penny girl and comforting Stevie Wonder kitty after his eye surgery!

January 2019 - Marshall at 1 year old
Awesome farm dog!

January 2019 - Marshall at 1 year old
"Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo"

He has already been such a blessing and beloved by everyone who meets him, including our vet who says he has the BEST temperament in a Dalmatian he has ever met but is also one of the best behaved dogs in general! Marshall is in classes now and will be evaluated next month for the TMH Animal Therapy program so we can continue to bring others joy thru our wonderful and blessed spotty baby, Marshall! <3

February 2019 - Marshall at 13 months old
Always close gatherings when cake is involved!

March 2019 - Marshall at 14 months old
He never misses going for a ride!

March 2019 - Marshall at 14 months old
Love this 60lb spotty baby SO much!!! <3

 Posted by Shannon Carroll
Owner of Redemptive Love Farm