A local author has been finding success with a children’s book published late last year. In December, Holmes resident Melissa Mullamphy proudly published Me, My Dog, and a Sheep, the heartwarming true story of their family dog who overcame a serious illness. Since publication, Melissa, her husband, Anthony, and son, Luke, have shared their amazing story of hope across numerous platforms.
The story behind Me, My Dog, and a Sheep began when the family’s dog, an African Mastiff named Grizzy, was diagnosed with wobbler disease. The condition is common to larger breeds of dogs, causing them to have an unsteady gait. In Grizzy’s case, three vertebrae were impacted, rendering him unable to walk. The family was devastated, especially Luke. “When Grizzy got sick, it was heartbreaking,” explains Mullamphy. “He was Luke’s best friend.”
The family sought treatment for Grizzy, bringing him for surgery to a veterinary clinic in Yonkers. The treatment was expected to restore his walking ability, but instead Grizzy emerged without the use of all four legs. In spite of the setback, the family was determined to help Grizzy. However, the road ahead would prove to be a difficult one for everyone involved.
“We did anything and everything,” says Mullamphy. “We bought hoists, mechanic creepers to bring him around, and pads for incontinence. His hospital bed was in our living room. It was like caring for a human, it was 24 – 7. It was a constant job.” The family all pitched in to provide Grizzy’s home care, and even brought in specialists to try acupuncture and laser treatments. Four months later, found a rehabilitation center that might be the key to Grizzy’s recovery.
The family would ultimately take Grizzy to Shaker Animal Hospital in Latham, NY, where he would have to be cared for on an inpatient basis. “The doctors couldn’t make any guarantees,” recalls Mullamphy, “but they said they would try. Everyone there was phenomenal. Everyone wanted Grizzy to walk.”
The staff at Shaker Animal Hospital immediately took a liking to their 160-pound patient. Soon after his arrival, Grizzy took over the entire rehab room, where staff members would provide massage therapy and laser treatments, with some even coming to be with him during their lunch hours. To help the family back home, the hospital also posted pictures to a Facebook page where Melissa, Anthony, and Luke could see photos and videos of Grizzy’s progress. “The staff was great,” says Mullamphy. “They loved him. They took him on Dunkin’ Donut runs and to the park on Saturdays to watch the ducks. I know if he wasn’t with the people who took care of him there, he wouldn't be here today. They saved him.” After nearly six months, the heartache and hardship would finally come to an end three days before Christmas, when Grizzy finally walked again.
With Grizzy out of the hospital and the family reunited, Mullamphy felt the urge to share the story of hope. “I never thought I would be an author,” she says. “I wrote the book because it was a good story. I thought, why not write something positive? Something that tells people not to give up.”
In December 2017, Me, My Dog, and a Sheep was published by Dog Ear Publishing. Written by Mullamphy and illustrated by Andrew Thomas, Grizzy’s story was presented to the world. Since then, the book has found success in both print and digital media. It is currently available on Amazon, Apple, and Google, and can be found at The Book Cove in Pawling, Barnes & Noble in Danbury, and on the shelves of the Pawling Library and Pawling Elementary School. There has been interest in translating the book into Spanish; Mullamphy has even received an offer to travel to Kuwait. Most recently, Grizzy’s touching story of recovery has recorded over 30 million views on the animal story site TheDodo.com.
Melissa, Anthony, Luke, and Grizzy have gone far and wide to spread their message of hope and perseverance. They have done book readings at schools in Pawling and Westchester, and have been guests on Pawling Public Radio. The family has donated books to Morgan Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s hospital in New York City, and were special guests at the Bark, Brew, and Tattoo charity event at the Saratoga County Animal Shelter this past June. “If anyone has any charity events that they would like us to participate in, please contact us,” urges Mullamphy. “One thing that I have learned, is that it’s not only animal lovers who contact me about Grizzy’s journey. It resonates with children and anyone with disabilities, and as of late, bullying.”
With the success of Me, My Dog, and a Sheep, Mullamphy and her family will continue to use Grizzy’s journey to inspire others. She has also begun work on a sequel. “If you’re able to help someone else, that’s a great thing,” she concludes. “Always try your best, and never give up.”
For more information on Grizzy’s amazing recovery, visit MeMyDogAndASheep.com online.