Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Love On Three Legs

Every weekday, Comet - a handsome yellow lab golden retriever mix - attends 8th grade. This friendly pooch is not in school to learn American History, however. As a service dog, he's there to help his human - 14 year old Veren Betzen. Since Veren has cerebral palsy, Comet provides indispensable companionship and assistance. Comet is a lot like service dogs everywhere except for one remarkable distinction: he is disabled himself.

Comet became a tripod last fall. After he began limping badly, a battery of tests at Colorado State University Veterinary Hospital ruled out cancer, but his right left leg still had to be amputated. Although Comet's family was concerned that he would no longer be able to function as a service dog, he adapted to life on three legs very quickly.

This wasn't surprising to the veterinarian who treated him. "We joke sometimes that dogs are born with three legs and a spare" Dr. Clara Goh told the Denver Post. "Right after surgery, they hop up with minimal help and hardly seem to notice."

These days, Comet is glad to be back in the classroom with Veren. He is well known and loved at Russell Middle School in Colorado Springs, and he helps the other students connect with Veren.
Click here for a wonderful audio slideshow that's presented in Veren's own words, but be warned - your eyes might not be dry by the time it's finished!

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