I really am an animal lover and always have been since I was little. With that said, I still wouldn’t have expected to be 21 years old, working and attending school full time while learning a new lifestyle as an above knee amputee, and then have the most perfect little dog fall into my life unexpectedly. It was so coincidental that I didn’t think twice before I deemed her mine forever and my puppy soul mate.
Fifteen months into my recovery I was successfully wearing a C-Leg daily, and for the last two of those months I had been walking on my own. I was assistance free, no crutches or canes, and I was finally feeling like myself again. Well, a new me, but much better than I had felt in a year (a really long and hard year) of physical therapy and loads of determination.
I had attended a non-profit fundraiser a few weeks prior for an organization called Wiggle Your Toes. I knew about the organization becuase the founder and another board member (Aaron Holm) had come to speak with me in the hospital after my amputation. I was a little nervous, but I knew they would have the best knowledge and insight for me at that time and that’s what they were there for. I think I ended up asking a million questions; everything from what it is like being an amputee, having a prosthetic, driving, what doctors are available and so on. They became frequent contacts and I continue to work with Wiggle Your Toes to hopefully help give back to new amputees what they gave to me.
So at the non-profit event, where we are raising money to help those who have lost limbs, there happened to be an awesome woman working as a bartender. In talking, we found out she rescues animals of all kinds and finds them homes! I am always so impressed to meet people who foster animals because I just couldn’t do it! I know I would have to move to a farm to keep them all because I would never want to let them go. Anyways, one of the board members got her contact information and kept in touch with her.
Time warp back three weeks or so before the event, a friend of mine, who also fosters animals, had my family and I over at her house. Upon walking in the door, I fell in love with a puppy named Lucky; he was a Pit bull mix and a BIG boy but he was missing a leg! I wanted to take him home so badly, but knew that I didn’t have enough space for such a big dog. I was telling one of the board members from Wiggle Your Toes how badly I wanted to take him because I was just so sure that we could totally understand each other, both missing legs and all! I did the right thing and stopped pretending that I could take him so I let it go (and yes Lucky found a great home anyway).
About a week later, the boardmember called me to tell me that he just picked up his new dog from the woman we met at the event. The dog was a rescue and missing a leg! Now you can call me naive if you would like, but I was not aware that there were all kinds of handicap and amputee animals that need homes! And after reading that sentence out loud it does sound a tad naive, but honestly I didn’t have any idea. I think for a quick second I was a little jealous that he had his new pup, but that jealousy disappeared very quickly at the thought of a rescue animal finding a forever home.
Just a few days later I got an email from the boardmember with a picture of the cutest little black and white puppy that I had ever seen! She was the perfect size, short hair and she was missing a leg. I replied to his email within seconds. “I want her, she is mine. I deem her my little puppy soul mate!! How do I get her?” He sent me the contact info for the person who had rescued her, which was a friend of the sweet bartender lady. I sent the woman an email showing my interest in the dog and waited to hear back from her. I just knew she would be the perfect dog for me from seeing her picture. She was so regal, yet sassy as she sat there on the edge of the couch with her ears perked.
I waited to get a response to my email, knowing if someone else scooped up this puppy I am going to be crushed. My phone rings and it is a number that I don’t have saved — it’s her! My first question, like that of an impatient and selfish child is, “When and how can I get her? Because she is mine!”
I learned fast that when you are adopting a rescue dog, you don’t always pick the dog as much as the foster parent picks you. So we talked for a bit just getting to know each other. Then we touched base on all of the details, which I didn’t care about anyways, like cost, etc. Then she asked me something along the lines of why do I want this dog so much, and what is my interest with this 3 legged dog, because sometimes people think it’s funny and want the dog because they want to do stupid stuff. I can say that I was actually pleased to hear her ask me so many questions because it ensures a good home for the animal.
Well, of course I had the best answer ever, aside from the truth of falling in love with her when I saw her picture. I said, “I can tell you I don’t think it is funny she is missing a leg and I know how life is like because I am missing my right leg too… so I think that pretty much makes her my tripod puppy soul mate.” And that week Lily was deemed my puppy soul mate! She most certainly found her forever home with me. This little dog was the best therapy that I could have asked for! Taking her on walks and getting outside on different surfaces has helped so much in getting me back on my two feet. The icing on the cake is that I lost my leg in a car accident, where I fell asleep driving and hit a guardrail leaving me about 2.5 inches of femur. Lily lost her leg the same way, fell asleep driving and hit a guard rail. Just kidding, but she was hit by a car in which she had her leg amputated. More Lily stories to come because she really is my sweet little puppy soul mate!
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