Valentino is a handsome doggie. He should be after all, considering some of his namesakes, including the Italian fashion designer and the handsome Hollywood film star from the 1920s. But this fluffy pup wasn’t named after either of these celebrities, but instead for the fact that he was born on Valentine’s Day.
This sweet chow chow lives in Novato with his owner, Anna Boucher. Valentino was born with spinal problems so has no feeling in his back legs, although the rest of him functions normally. To help him get around, Anna had a cart built by Eddie’s Wheels to his specifications. Since his back legs are atrophied, they remain in a frontal position. But Valentino doesn’t only stick to his cart – he has a variety of ways of getting around. “He scoots on the floor wearing toddler’s pants he’s when inside,” Anna explains. “When he’s outside he’s hooked up to his cart, and sometimes I pull him in his wagon, which he absolutely loves!!!”
Anna tells us more about Valentino below:
How did you two meet?
I was in a dog rescue networking group when I saw a request for help with a 3-month-old chow chow who didn’t have use of his back legs.
Valentino had surgery and he was flying to go to foster care (part of the Pilots n’ Paws program). It was at this time that I made the decision to learn how to care for him and be his provider to protect him. So many people wanted to euthanize him and were questioning his quality of life. He always has a smile on his face and is a very happy boy!
What is his favorite snack?
He loves rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods.
What are his favorite trails or parks?
Blackie’s pasture in Tiburon/Belvedere.
Does he sleep in your bed?
No, for safety reasons, since he could fall off. But he sleeps close to my bed.
How did he get his name?
He was born on Valentine’s Day five years ago, in 2015.
Tell us something unique about him.
He loves going out in the water in his cart and watching and feeling the waves on his good legs. He loves running and playing with other dogs at the park.
How does he cope with having paralyzed back legs?
He doesn’t know that he is different from other dogs. He lives with four other dogs on a small horse property and runs around without a care in the world. He loves visiting the horse, Mattie, and hanging out with his pack!
I’m in the process of writing a book to educate children and adults to help spread awareness that special needs dogs can lead a normal, healthy and happy life. Valentino does need a little extra care. This includes a little cleaning up after him like a toddler, and putting on colorful washable diapers. This only takes 10 minutes at most. Getting him in his cart only takes a couple of minutes and then he is off and running!
If you’d like to enter your dog into Marin’s dog-of-the-month, please contact [email protected].
Jessica Gliddon is the Group Digital Content Manager for Marin Magazine. An international writer and editor, she has worked on publications in the UK, Dubai and Cape Town. She is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, and is the former editor of Abu Dhabi’s airline magazine, Etihad Inflight. When she’s not checking out the latest exhibit at SFMOMA or searching out the best places to eat and drink near her home in San Francisco, she volunteers at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.