It is hard to believe that 4 whole years have flown by since the day I first picked up this "injured" glider from a basement in a tiny town on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. And, it is equally as hard to believe that it has already been 4 years!
For those who need a little history: Jackie Chan was a rescue who came to me with what turned out to be a severed spine. We are still not sure why it is that Jackie has survived, but he HAS survived and thrived and stolen the hearts of many. Jackie Chan has very limited movement below his shoulders. He IS able to use his front legs and is REMARKABLE in how he compensates for the loss of his back legs. He has no bowel and bladder control and only minimal ability to move his back lets at the hips. In addition to these physical limitations, Jackie suffers with pretty severe anxiety and is prone to self -mutilation. His SM episodes have resulted in many surgeries and amputations, including: traumatic castration and subsequent cleaning up of the site, removal of both heads of his penis, tail amputation and multiple surgeries to close a wound he kept opening up. His anxiety has resulted in an overgroomed head for 3 solid years now. Jackie has come a long way, has bonded to me very strongly, and has now gone 2 whole years without a major medical issue!!!
Through the years, Jackie Chan has inspired me and been the catalyst for research and study into topics such as HLP, paralysis, anxiety, enrichment, Self Mutilation and wound healing. Jackie Chan was the primary motivation for founding the SUGAR Group to gain more education and scientific research on sugar gliders. Jackie has also taught me the value of each life. He has forced me to make hard decisions and to evaluate where I stand on euthanasia. He has challenged my natural instincts to "protect" him as he wants so badly to never be treated like he is "limited" physically. He has taught me that gliders will only be as "handicapped" as we make them be, and that when we allow them to soar, they will literally learn to jump, even if they are paralyzed.
Jackie Chan has brought many in this community together despite our different views or personalities. He has just as much caused rifts between a few of us that might never see bridges repair. He is loved by many and pitied by others. But, one thing is true through it all - once you MEET Jackie Chan, you are changed somewhat. You see a glider who LOVES life, who WANTS to live and who is totally and completely in love with his momma and vice-versa. This little guy has stolen my heart and will forever and always be the reason that I want to find answers to all of the injuries and illnesses that plague our gliders.
I can't say enough about him. If you haven't gotten to meet him yet, you should ask for some time with him if you ever see me at a gathering. Not so that I can show him off (for I will not and I don't allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to have time with hime), but because YOUR understanding of what a glider can overcome will change once you meet him.
And, if you own a good video camera, you should bring it to the RRRoundup so that we can finally have some video of this boy in action to share with the community.
And now, cause I know some of you will never forgive me if I don't post pictures, here are a few from our time a few nights ago in the tent.
Here is how Jackie's legs look when he is in a hurry to check something out:
His severely over-groomed head:
Just all around cuteness as he plays in the tent (and he plays HARD)
4 years. We never imagined he would live this long. I certainly never imagined he would change my life like he did.
~~ Val B ~~ 806-803-0318 Daily giving the abused, unloved, unwanted and neglected SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN
PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR SUGAR GROUP SURVEYS!!!!!!!!!!!!
That seriously almost made me tear up!!! I am so happy for you and Jackie Chan! What an amazing story of pure perseverance on Jackie's part!! And I commend you for sticking with it as many people would not want a "disabled" pet.
Wow! I still remember the very first Jackie stories we heard on here. It's amazing how far you and he have come. Keep up the good work Jackie, you're an inspiration to us all! I hope to be lucky enough to meet you someday.
Isn't he just adorable? I love each and every picture and story I've seen/heard about him....I haven't been here nearly this long either, but I've been fortunate enough to hear the stories and hear told just how wonderful YOU are! What a beautiful and amazing mama you are, Val! Thank you for ALL you do!
He is a very handsome little man. Its amazing how something so small can teach us what true courage and determination really is. I would never feel pity for him.....just admiration for him and his amazing momma. I truely admire your determination and courage also. Thanks for sharing Jackie chans wonderful story with us.
Ruby www.rubyssuggieshak.weebly.com fur babies Baka Manu Adara and Neera , leopard, crested and gargoyle geckos,a rotten beagle ( Beauregard), a rotten english bulldaog puppy( oREN), 1 blood python, 1 redtail boa, 1 argentine boa and 3 corns