Man’s best friend wins over classic car

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s something all dog owners have had to think about: How far would we go for our four-legged pals?

Here’s how Matthew Clark, a Grand Rapids psychologist, answered that question.

“Drake just turned 11 this summer, so he’s about 77 in dog years,” he said.

Drake is an English springer spaniel who developed degenerative arthritis.

“He was just walking up a slight hill that was wet one day and I was his paw and his arm go out and he collapsed to the floor and he couldn’t walk after that, it was pretty scary,” Clark said. “So he’s torn two ACLs and two meniscuses.”

Drake had to be carried over any obstacle.

“He sleeps with me every night, so I moved the mattress downstairs. We slept in the living room for about six weeks,” Clark said. “He insists on sitting on the couch with me, so I have to pick him up and put him on the couch.”

Multiple surgeries for the ACLs and replacement of the meniscus with rubber bands racked up thousands of dollars in vet bills.

“I always said I wouldn’t pay more than like $1,200 when I heard people say they paid thousands,” Clark said. “It’s been pretty stressful, but he’s definitely worth it.”

Drake is now getting weekly laser therapy and using an underwater treadmill to recover.

“If he had something that was incurable, something that wasn’t gonna get better…” Clark said. “I know he’d do the same for me if he was in my position.”

Long before he met Drake, Clark’s grandfather Carl Sheerin was a big fan of old cars, buying and fixing them up including this 1929 Ford Model A.

“Dad got it fixed up just in time for Matt to take it to the prom, his junior year,” said Clark’s mom Ardie Clark.

That was 1986 and Clark drove it from Plainwell to Kalamazoo with his prom date over back roads.

“Oh my word, it is his son,” Ardie Clark says of her son’s relationship with his dog. “He loves Drake.” 

Ardie Clark said he would approve of what his grandson was doing.

“Being that my dad loved Matt and he loved animals he would be elated that he could help Matt in this way,” Ardie Clark said. “He would be so happy, In fact, I hope he is.”

While Matthew Clark’s dad and grandfather loved tinkering with cars, it was a gene that skipped him.

“My dad would rather see it being loved by somebody else,” he said of the Model A.

Clark is looking to get $4,500 for the car. His dad says it needs work, but someone who knows what they are doing should be able to get running,

Meanwhile, Drake continues to recover and is now climbing stairs — slowly, but he is doing it.