Hydrocephalus is a medical condition in which excessive fluid builds up in the brain. Formerly known as, “water on the brain” this condition can be fatal if left untreated, but with the right treatment it is possible to live a relatively normal life. This condition effects humans and dogs alike, and Frankie and Dylan, a dog and boy who are afflicted with this same condition, are truly an inspiration.
When Frankie, a Chihuahua-dachshund mix, was a pup, it was quite obvious that his head was abnormally large. He was luckily transferred to the Richmond Animal League, which is a no-kill shelter that often takes dogs from city shelters where they would otherwise be euthanized. The Richmond Animal League placed Frank in a foster home in hopes that he would thrive, and he did. Frank’s foster parents, Toni and Kevin Mark were about to adopt him when they discovered that he might have special healing capacities because of his unique condition.
Stacey Metz frequently sees patients with hydrocephalus and thought she could train Frank as a therapy dog to lift their spirits and give them hope. Recently, Frank met with Dylan Lipton-Lesser, a young boy who developed hydrocephalus as an infant while fighting an infection, and underwent 15 brain surgeries before the age of two. Dylan first made national news when his elated reactions to hearing for the first time spread across the Internet. The pair play together beautifully, and both seem to get a lot out of their visits.
Metz now takes Frank to meet with other people who share this same condition, either at their homes or at the Richmond Animal League. Frankie gives these patients love and positive energy, which along with the proper medical treatment, can bring about wonderful improvements.