Imagine you are a young puppy that has been neglected. You are hungry and cold. At a young age life has proven to be cruel and challenging. Tangled in ropes, you find them bound around your front legs and abdomen so tight that they are causing permanent nerve damage. But, somewhere deep down you are determined to live. In addition, something within you refuses to hold grudges or be fearful or even angry. You just want to be loved and cared for by a forever home.


Meet Ciabatta. This is his story. Ciabatti is a sweet mixed breed puppy that was rescued by Alive Rescue Group in Memphis. Alive Rescue is operated by Ranise Coppen and recruits foster homes to care for rescues until their forever home is found.

Ciabatta was surrendered to Alive Rescue after suffering injuries to his front limbs and abdominal area from having ropes bound around his front limbs and abdomen. The ropes were so tight they caused permanent nerve damage to his right front limb and significant soft tissue damage to his left front leg and his lower abdomen.


I had the privilege of meeting Ciabatta in September 2020. He was a rambunctious, vivacious puppy who knew no strangers. His personality was much larger than his stature and his immediate trust of humans was astounding.  He greeted me with an effort to jump up and give me kisses. It was immediately apparent that he had little control of his right front leg. It was agreed that we would give Ciabatta more time to heal in hopes he would regain nerve function.  At 6 months of age, it was obvious that Ciabatti would no longer be able to use his right front leg effectively and it was impacting his quality of life.  After consultation with his foster mom, Taylor, it was decided to amputate his right front limb. Although we both felt sadness over the amputation, we knew this would allow him to live a pain-free life.

Ciabatta was a champ before, during and after his surgery. His recovery was amazing and his spirit remains strong and large.


I am learning a lot from Ciabatta. Many of us have experienced wounds, scars and trauma from our past or even in our present. However, we get to choose how we are going to live our lives going forward. Ciabatta’s grace toward the human race inspires me to have that same grace. Ciabatta’s positive attitude toward this life journey in spite of his pain and suffering inspires me to do the same.

Over 33 years of practice, I have found a great exchange. I get to use my gifts and training for healing in my patients; and in exchange they share their courage, perseverance and love with me. I would say I get the better end of the deal.

Oh, and you may be wondering how/where Ciabatta  is now? Well, as the saying goes, he was a “foster failure”. He lives a comfortable and well-loved life with his former foster mom (now permanent Mom), TaylorJ. Congrats on your forever home, Ciabatta!!