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A Donation That Tugs at the Heartstrings

Jim and Alex Davis with Tug
Jim Davis (left) and Alex Davis with their longhaired dachshund, Tug.

Not many longhaired dachshunds have a career, but Tug Davis does. 

In addition to being a beloved member of the Davis family, Tug gained a group of outside admirers as well. Most days he accompanies Jim Davis to his office, where he roams freely and has his own nameplate that reads “Chief Morale Officer.”

Jim’s wife, Alex Davis, says that he is quite diligent in executing his duties, much to the delight of his co-workers. 

“They love him to death,” she says. 

This summer, the Davises left Tug in the care of his human grandparents while they went out of town for a wedding. Upon their return, they noticed that he seemed lethargic, out of character for their high-energy companion. 

By the third day they grew concerned enough to take him to their local veterinarian for an X-ray, which revealed disc compression in Tug’s spine. At that point, Alex Davis says that he was still walking, but would no longer go up and down stairs.

Tug was prescribed some muscle relaxer and a steroid, and the Davises were told to monitor his condition. By the following Sunday Tug was unable to use his back legs.

The Davises immediately contacted their primary veterinarian, who referred them to the NC State Veterinary Hospital. 

“When we arrived at NC State we were nearly panicked,” Alex Davis says. “We thought we were going to lose part of our family.”

Jim Davis and Tug
Jim Davis and Tug.

Enter neurology resident Lauren Green, who handled Tug’s case. An exam revealed that Tug had a bulging disc in his lower back, causing severe spinal cord compression. Green performed surgery on the vertebrae, designed to relieve pressure from the bulge and to reduce the risk of a  recurrence. 

The day after surgery Tug was able to stand, and soon he was able to walk a little bit and resumed eating. He was doing well enough to be discharged. 

“Dr. Green, members of the staff and everybody were very kind and comforting, and extremely helpful,” Alex Davis says. “And that continued after we brought him home. He has regained almost all of his abilities.”

But recovery was gradual. Tug’s normally rambunctious physical activity had to be restricted as he healed. It helped that the Davises were diligent in monitoring Tug, even taking shifts to be with him continuously. Within a week, Tug was much improved.

The Davises were so grateful for their experience at NC State they wanted to do something in return to express their thanks.

“We talked about it after we picked up Tug to take him home,” Jim Davis says. “We felt overwhelming relief and wanted to show our deepest heartfelt appreciation. 

“Without NC State’s skills, he wouldn’t have survived. We realize how fortunate we are to be so close to a facility like this, and we wanted to do something so we would never forget how well we were served.”

The Davises decided to make an annual financial gift to the NC State Veterinary Hospital. The initial donation of $500 to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation, specifying it was for the neurology service fund in honor of Green and the team who worked on Tug. The couple says they intend to make a donation each year in support of the veterinary hospital. 

“As an NC State grad, I can’t think of a better way to reinvest in the university,” says Jim Davis, who holds a degree in business from the Poole College of Management. “We hope it will improve things for others who come in desperately seeking help.”

For more information on how to support the work of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine and veterinary hospital, go here.

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine