Monday, April 18, 2011

Longfellow, The Three-Legged Champ

Here's an uplifting story about a determined three-legged Dachshund who reminds me very much of our own tripod doxie mix, Dewey:

Longfellow, a dachshund, was 10 months old when he was adopted by Sheila Phillips of Tybee Island, Ga. She trained him as a therapy dog and he visited schools, hospitals and nursing homes. He loved to run and placed third in the local Wiener Dog race in 2005. Longfellow had one bad habit, though: He was an escape artist.

In July of 2006 he escaped from our beach house and went playing out in the street,” Phillips says. “Next thing we knew, he had been hit by a car. We did not think he would make it because he had a broken leg, a severed sciatic nerve, a crushed pelvis and many other injuries. We were devastated. He loved to run so much and now we thought he never would again.”

Longfellow survived, but his hind leg had to be amputated. Phillips took him swimming to help strengthen his other legs and he attempted to run with other dogs until he could get along pretty well on three legs. He also resumed his therapy dog visits.

“We started going to Memorial Health Rehab Center, where he visited patients who’d had their legs amputated. He was a big hit there,” Phillips says. “One gentleman at the rehab unit said, ‘If Longfellow can do it, I can too.’”

Advances in rehab techniques such as aquatic therapy for animals help pets like Longfellow recover as well as they do. Prosthetic limbs are rare, but pets with paralysis issues can get around with the help of carts that keep them rolling along.

~From Dealing With Devastating Pet Injuries: When Spared Euthanasia, Animals Can Overcome Adversity Surprisingly Well
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Postscript: In 2007, Longfellow ran in Savannah's annual Oktoberfest Wiener Dawg Races and won, beating 178 other four-legged Dachshunds on his three legs!

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