SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A canine fitted by San Diego Humane Society with a prosthetic leg has found her forever home with none other than a family who understands the challenges of having a leg amputated.
Chloe, a 9-year-old Shih Tzu, is one of two dogs rescued by San Diego Humane Society's Law Enforcement on March 6 from a home in Mira Mesa. Chloe, and the other dog, Roxy, had their back paws bandaged so tightly it had cut off blood flow. SDHS their previous owner was trying to prevent the dogs from licking and scratching. As a result, both dogs suffered severe injuries, and each needed to have their back paws amputated.
Chloe had both back paws partially amputated.
After the amputation, SDHS staff trained Chloe to walk again, using a wheelchair and prosthetic devices. Chloe was fitted with orthopedic slippers for both back legs.
Enter San Diego Police detective Chappie Hunter. Hunter lost his leg in a crash in Alpine in 2013. After a year of recovery, he returned to work at the department with a prosthetic leg.
Hunter said an SDHS officer he knew thought he and Chloe would be a great match and asked if he would consider fostering her. Hunter and his family took Chloe in and eventually decided to make it official.
He said he and his family fell in love with her almost instantly.
"The bond between Chloe and I, which is really awesome, I was the first one that she actually kissed," laughed Hunter. "With me, I really enjoy the fact that you know, obviously she's been through some trauma like I was, she has her prosthetics, I have mine. It's kind of neat to be able to work with her on that fact. And also know that in actuality, I might actually kind of know what she's feeling and be able to be a little more sensitive to that fact ... She's actually the one taking care of me."
Hunter said that while just adopting a dog is special enough, the circumstances surrounding their bond make it that much more meaningful.
"You wouldn't be able to tell if she didn't have the legs on. She goes 100 miles an hour. She can run, she can jump. She can jump onto the couch from the floor and jump down with the legs on. She's doing great," he added.
Roxy, a 13-year-old Chihuahua, had her left hind foot partially amputated and was fitted with a custom prosthetic device. She is currently in a foster home and has about another month of recovery.
"Fitting a dog with prosthetics is quite an involved process and this was a first for San Diego Humane Society," said veterinarian Susan Garity. "It included sedation to create a mold of the feet, getting the prosthetics to fit perfectly and monitoring for pressure sores. It takes time for the dogs to learn to use them, but our staff is so dedicated and I am so grateful we had our whole organization’s support in giving these sweet dogs a second chance at some normalcy."