Naconi’s Journey: A Dog’s Life Well Lived was originally posted in 2014, but in honor of Valentine’s Day I decided to pull it out of the archives and share the love.
How many times have you seen a picture of a homeless dog living in terrible conditions and said, “Someone should help that animal?” Susan, an animal lover from Colorado, not only made that statement, but she also reached out and adopted a paralyzed dog who was living alone on the streets of Taiwan.
Susan discovered the husky while she was browsing on online. In the photo, the dog was lying on the ground with his eyes closed tight. To Susan it looked like he had given up hope.
In the following days, Susan couldn’t stop thinking about the dog. Finally, she called the rescue group that posted his picture. They told her the husky had been abused while living on the streets and that he was close to starving to death. They had shared his photo with the hope that someone would come to his aid. Without hesitation, Susan said she would adopt the dog.
“After I called about him, a benefactor in Taiwan helped him get admitted into a veterinary hospital,” said Susan. “The hospital found that he had massive injuries all over his body and that his hind legs were paralyzed. He was in the hospital a long time.”
18 months later
After 18 long months of recovery, the dog was well enough to travel. Susan and her family were told that he would need a wheelchair and a catheter to express his bladder.
In early April, the rescue group helped the husky board a plane from Taiwan to San Francisco. From there he was transferred to another flight that took him to his new home in Denver. He landed on April 12, 2014. The date became a day his new family celebrated every year.
A new name and a new life
Susan and her family decided to call the husky, Naconi. The name means wanderer, in Comanche. Susan thought it was the perfect name because Naconi had wandered the streets of Taiwan and then flew to the other side of the world to join a family of his own.
Susan met Naconi at the airport with a new wheelchair in hand. The picture you see above was taken at the airport after Naconi put on his new wheels. At that moment he instinctively knew he was safe.
Naconi’s first year with his family
During his first year in Denver, Naconi started physical therapy and hydrotherapy. He improved so much that he no longer needed his bladder expressed.
Susan also learned about some of Naconi’s fears that year.
“We know he’s afraid of lighters and anything that makes that same clicking sound. We can only guess why he fears lighters so much. He’s also intimidated by big dogs, which most likely stems from him being disabled and trying to survive on the streets.”Pet Mom Susan
Naconi also got a brother that year. Susan and her husband adopted a paralyzed Dachshund named Sammy. The little dog was injured after a bigger dog rolled on top of him. His owners couldn’t afford to take care of his injuries so little Sammy was confined to life in a crate.
“Instead of enjoying life, Sammy’s world consisted of being locked up all day. I could not allow that, so I adopted him.”
Sammy joined the family and together, in their wheelchairs, the dog buddies and their pet mom helped other disabled dogs.
Susan started a Facebook community that even today, 10 years later, raises money to pay veterinary bills and buy mobility equipment for dogs in need.
On September 1, 2018, Naconi passed away. During his life, he survived abuse, starvation and permanent disability. He also went on to be a role model for disabled dogs, a loving family pet and a big brother. Naconi had a life well lived.