Eugene and Theresa Marble make no bones about it. Their Rottweiler-Labrador mix, "Pretty Girl," is the most important part of their lives.
"Her just coming to the door to greet me at the door, even if you had a bad day, and you walk in and she comes to the door and she's so happy to see you. It just makes you feel all good inside," Eugene said.
Several months ago, Pretty Girl became disabled from osteoarthritis. The Marbles began searching for every option they could find to help her.
"The other route would have been to put her down, and that was not an option," Theresa said.
What this couple opted for changed their life and that of their elderly dog.
"It's almost too good to be true, because we were afraid she would not be able to walk. Now, she's running and playing. It's fantastic," Eugene said.
Four months ago, Pretty Girl became the first dog in Mississippi to undergo a stem cell transplant. Dr. Mike Randall performed the procedure at Randall Veterinary Hospital in Byram.
The first order of business was removing fat from Pretty Girl's shoulder.
"We take the fat, process the fat. We get the stem cells out. We also get blood from the dog. We pull platelet-rich plasma, which is growth factors for these stem cells. That will cause the stem cells to adhere to those and have them proliferate and become the tissue they need to be," Dr. Randall explained.
Dr. Randall then injected the stem cells in several joints. The hope? Repairing the damage that made even sitting difficult for Pretty Girl.
Now, she is in fit condition for a dog her age. And sitting pretty!
Theresa said, "It seems to have rejuvenated her. She has a lot more energy and she has a lot more strength."
So much energy and strength, in fact, that Pretty Girl has dropped 30 pounds.
The cost for the stem cell procedure is roughly $1,800 and banking stem cells for later use costs about $150 a year.
The Marbles admit it was a high cost, but say the return on their investment is much greater.
"I'm just glad I had it to spend, because that little dog is my whole life. She really is," Eugene said.
Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.
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