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Bandit became part of Elizabeth’s family for a reason — to help her son cope with his learning differences and the sudden death of his father. They had recently lost their 14-year-old dog, so she decided a puppy might bring her son out of his shell and be less fearful in social situations.

Elizabeth came across the photo of a little black dachshund that was given one last chance by the breeder. Shadow, as he was called at that time, was going to be put to sleep because he was “too old and too quiet.” He was almost nine months and did not look or act like the rest of the frisky black and tan puppies. He didn’t show much emotion and crouched even further into his cage when the door was opened. Elizabeth took Shadow into her arms, sensing that he would save her family from their sadness and they could save his life.

She brought him home and his name became Bandit. “I have never regretted getting Bandit, because he stole my heart when I did not think I had one left. He’s been a blessing.” Bandit has been by her side during job loss and multiple health scares. When Bandit was going outdoors in April 2012, he fell and immediately started to limp. His veterinarian diagnosed a sprained leg, and he was put on crate rest. Soon after, when Elizabeth was carrying Bandit outside, he saw a chipmunk and jumped out of her arms. He landed on his sprained leg, causing him to drag his entire hind quarters. This time his veterinarian determined he had herniated three discs, and Elizabeth quickly scheduled the operation. Bandit was given a 50-50 chance of recovery.

After 12 weeks of physical therapy and using a sling to help him get around, Bandit recovered fully. Eight months later he fell on a patch of ice, causing an injury in the same spot as his repaired discs which required an MRI for diagnosis. “After they did the imaging, the technician and doctor came out and said his chances of recovery were not good, and that I had to decide whether to euthanize him or operate.” She chose to fight for his life, and with a grant from Rochester Hope for Pets, Elizabeth was able to afford the lifesaving surgery. Bandit has now recovered 95% of his mobility.