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'Incredible will to live' | Michigan dog learns to stand, walk after being abandoned

Her foster says Fig the French bulldog's determination is the big reason she's still alive, despite her special needs and the rough way her life began.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Pet rescues and shelters have been working for months to deal with a rise in people giving up their pets because of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Volunteers at Plainfield Township-based Mosh Pit Rescue may never know if that's the reason Fig the French bulldog was left for dead in "the middle of no where" near Battle Creek at just three months old.

The rescue got a call in May from one of their contacts about Fig. Julie Beukema, a librarian and seven-year pet foster, was asked if she'd be willing to take her in.

"She couldn’t even sit up so she was basically just sitting on her side," Beukema said.

Calcification of Fig's joints, including in her spine, was the main cause for Fig's limited mobility. She has some genetic issues and the rescue believes she was the product of a backyard breeder.

"She was so dehydrated when I got her that we didn’t think she was going to make it the first week. We honestly had vets tell us to put her down."

Despite the odds, Beukema decided to give it a shot because of the spirit she noticed in Fig.

"I believed in her. This dog has an incredible will to live. She’s very strong willed and I wanted to give her that shot," she said.

The next several months were spent getting Fig the medical attention she needed. That included not only trips to the vet, but also a four to five hour surgery with a specialist on the East side of the state, and 12 rounds of physical therapy at Rogue Valley Veterinary Hospital in Rockford.

Fig's recovery has not only been involved. It's also been expensive. Beukema says it's been worth it.

"I myself returned approximately $6,000 worth of pop cans to pay for her surgery and a lot of her tests.

"The first time she stood up was amazing. She’s walking. She does it Figgie style," Beukema said, referring to the way Fig walks on the wrists of her front legs.

"She’s getting around. She’s as happy as can be."

Though her exact birthday is not known, Fig is set to turn one one year old sometime in February. Because of her special needs, Fig is a permanent foster with Beukema. However, Mosh Pit does work to find homes for pets that need them.

"Sometimes we get in really, really sick animals and to see them kind of blossom and flourish and get to the point where they can go to a home, and we love getting updates from the people that adopt from us," Beukema said.

In addition to fostering, there are a number of ways you can help Mosh Pit. One of their biggest needs is helping provide veterinary care for animals under their care. They have a list of ways you can help on their website.

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