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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sherry D. Gaber

The Story Of Charlie The Buffalo

The power of animal chiropractic holds no limits, as the story of Charlie the buffalo illustrates. Charle was orphaned and adopted at six days old by a Santa Fe couple, Roger and Veryl Goodnight. Veryl, a sculptor, needed a buffalo for a piece she was creating for the Wild West Experience exhibit in Denver, CO. The Goodnights and Charlie developed a strong bond during his stay, as told in the book, “A Buffalo in the House”.

Charlie The Buffalo

When Charlie was 400 pounds and too big to stay in the house with the Goodnight's dogs, Veryl and Roger called the Taos Pueblo and spoke to the buffalo herder. He offered to take in Charlie and introduce him to the other baby buffalos. Charlie had never seen another buffalo, so when he first saw them he freaked out and ran straight into a steel post, head first. He fell, couldn't get up and was paralyzed from the neck down.

Veryl and Roger came right back, picked up Charlie and took him to the University of Colorado Veterinary School to be taken care of. He was in a sling for 30 days receiving acupuncture.

With nothing else to be done, Charlie was taken home to Santa Fe to recover as best he could, still not utilizing his rear right leg well. Because he never truly recovered from the head-on trauma, Charlie lost a lot of muscle strength and his right leg was lame. He was only able to walk with his body angled, and could only push off well with his left rear leg.

Fortunately, Sherry read a story in the local newspaper about Charlie’s plight. She knew she could be of assistance and help Charlie walk better and have a better quality of life. Charlie was 1,000 pounds heavier since the trauma, but as chiropractors know, a spine that has had earlier trauma can be corrected.

The difference for Dr. Gaber in this case was specific to buffalos: “What does a buffalo’s spinal column look like? What are the angles of the various spinal facets?” Thankfully, those questions were answered when CSU sent her pictures of the skull and cervical spine.

A simple phone call to Charlie’s owner, Roger, resulted in an appointment for Charlie for an initial chiropractic exam. With the supervision of veterinarian Dr. Gretchen Yost, Dr. Gaber adjusted Charlie who was quickly walking straighter. It was immediate! Charlie charged off down his arena a happier 1400 pound buffalo.

The story of Charlie the Buffalo and his three-year stay with the Goodnights is not only a testimonial to the power of animal chiropractic, but of the bond that can develop between humans and wild animals.


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