This has to be the saddest tale of all of the dogs to date. We have had dogs that were beaten, starved, and abused socially, but this was the first dog that was physically damaged so badly that almost everyone that visited him was torn between a terrible feeling of anger, love, pity, and happiness. This was an amazing dog.
The next two pictures don’t initially strike you that anythng is wrong. At first glance you see a very cute fluffy dog that just loves being scratched and pet. But you look closer and you have to notice that his butt is floating in the air. Yes, floating.
This dog started with us under the name Buddy and was later named Kipling. We then shortened it to Kip. He was an adorable dog that was so well adjusted. His handicap came about through an accident. The story that we got was that he lived somewhere in Virginia and his owner ran over his back legs with a lawnmower. Then rather than taking the dog to the vet the owner apparently left the dog to die and put him in a trash can.
Apparently a neighbor saw the incident and took the dog to an emergency room where they amputated his legs just below the ankle. The vets did their best to wrap the skin around the bone to provide protection and then he was given to HART.
By the time Kip had healed up ad was able to get around, he acted like nothing had happened. He learned to balance himself so that he walked on his front legs and held his butt up in the air in a balancing act. He couldn’t keep up with the other dogs, but he got around. He ate, he managed to go outside and do his jobs, and in general seemed like he didn’t care. He adored being pet, loved to snuggle up with you in bed, and just loved having a butt scratch.
We had Kip for about a month through his rehabilitation. Vets in the area volunteered time at their facilities to help him learn how to get along with his situation. HART published a paper in the Washington Post about his situation and a Vet down in Richmond volunteered to fit Kip with prosthetic legs.
Kip got his first set of prosthetic legs and it was a little tough getting him to wear them or deal with them. The first set also chafed at the tender skin wrapped around the bone so he couldn’t wear them for long. But he got a second set after another month and this set fit better.
Kip with his prosthetic legs was a completely new dog. Without the legs, he ran around on his front feet. He played in the yard with the other dogs, and wrestled around with everyone. He was just happy but he stayed near us…. the humans. But when you put his legs on him, he would just turn into a normal dog. He would run at full speed and you couldn’t keep up with him. And he knew it. If you had him outside without the legs, he would stay right with you…. but put the legs on…. and you had to have a fence around the yard because he would run like the wind.
Kip stayed with us for about 4 months and when he was fully rehabilitated and was on his third pair of legs, he got adopted by a lovely family that knew that they were taking on a long term responsibility of helping Kip as he grew through sets of legs. After all… he was still growing when we got him and was just a pup.
Whenever I am hurt, or feeling sorry for myself, I have to think of Kip. I get teary eyed whenever I do, but Kip reminds everyone that sees him that a physical handicap doesn’t have to be the end of your happiness.