Pit Bull Paralyzed After Falling In Swimming Pool Takes His First Wobbly Steps

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

January 20, 2016

Stephen McCullough thought he lost his dog when he spotted the family’s 10-year-old Pit Bull unconscious at the bottom of their swimming pool. “Shock” had followed him outside just moments earlier. “I immediately jumped in and scooped him up,” he says, “but he was completely lifeless. I thought we had lost him.”


He immediately performed CPR and got the dog breathing again, after which a soaking wet McCullough and his wife rushed Shock to the vet. He was stabilized, but the family received another devastating blow when they discovered their dog had lost complete use of his legs.


Veterinarians determined that disc material ruptured and compressed his spinal cord, causing paralysis. It’s unclear whether the fall into the pool or a previous event caused Shock’s injury, but Drs. Benjamin Spall and Brent Newcomb of Blue Pearl Vet dove into surgery with high hopes.

They successfully removed the affected tissues and released pressure on Shock’s spinal cord. The pup could feel his legs again, but it would be a long haul before he was able to walk normally. Two weeks of physical therapy to help him gain strength and stimulate muscle memory began the process, and the McCulloughs dutifully continued treatment at home.


Shock had been using a harness so that he could be supported and helped to move around, but one day his family decided to set him free and see what happened. McCullough removed the harness, called Shock to him, and watched as their previously immobile dog walked—perhaps a little shakily—right out the door. McCullough says:

He’s the sweetest dog we’ve ever had. He’s come so much further than I ever thought would be possible. It’s really amazing.

Although Shock may have lost a little of the bounce he once had, his Pibble personality has remained intact and uncontainable. If I’m being honest, I don’t know that it’s possible to steal any Pitties’ happy wiggles.


While this pup got lucky, water-related injuries and fatalities occur with dogs more often than we think. Overweight, senior, and smaller dogs in particular tend to have more trouble finding their sea legs. Even if you have a water-loving hound on your hands, it’s always a good idea to make sure he’s supervised near any body of water, especially if you don’t have a fence separating your pool from the rest of the yard.

Everyone loves being able to take a dip and lounge about, but only if it means we can have some peace of mind with our pups around!

H/t BluePearl Vet, Featured Image via Stephen McCullough/BluePearl Veterinary Partners/YouTube

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

January 20, 2016

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