Two-Legged Rescue Dogs Teach Lesson of Courage

March 18, 2011 | By Margo Ann Sullivan | Category: Heroes | 4 comments
Tags: adoption & rescue, heroes, rescued pets, rescued animals, rescued dogs

Photo by Brian Adams, MSPCA-Angell

Three Chihuahuas live an inspiring story of pluck and spirit.

Methuen, Mass. –Three Chihuahua pups, born without front legs, are teaching everyone a lesson about pluck and courage.

“They’re really an inspirational story for what they’ve been able to overcome,” said Brian Adams, spokesman for MSPCA-Angell. The shelter took over care of the litter after their owner died and a family member surrendered the pups Feb. 22 to the Methuen (Mass.) Adoption Center, he said.

“Our job now is to make sure they’re provided for,” he said, “and make sure these rambunctious puppies don’t overexert themselves. They’re full of energy.”

The three puppies, two girls and a boy, all born without front legs, are thriving in foster care while the MSPCA-Angell waits for them to grow big enough to be fitted with carts, Adams said.

"They're eating well; they're growing," said Linda Jones, the foster care provider. "They're 12 1/2 weeks old."

And they're into everything, she said.

Jones of Chelmsford, Mass. said in a telephone interview the three puppies, are lively, mischievous and full of pep, in spite of the handicap.

“They play with each other,” she said. “They run around the house.” Actually, she said, Kensi and Hetty, the two females, “take little kangaroo hops.”

"The smallest one isn't as active," she said. The smallest pup, G, actually has two small stumps where his front legs should be. He tries to use them as legs, and he needs extra time to position himself. The other two just bounce, she said.

"G is keeping up," she said, although it takes him a little longer than the girls to run around.

"They're getting socialized," she said. They go to puppy training classes at the MSPCA. They also go shopping at the pet store and visit students at the local middle school, Jones said.

“Kensi’s the leader at home,” Jones said. “Kensi’s more outgoing. She’s the first to investigate new things.” But away from home, she’s not so adventurous.

“G is a great kisser," she said. But Hetty's also "all sweetness. They’re actually all very sweet,” Jones said.

Jones said she and husband Marty have been providing foster care for more than 10 years. They do get attached, but it's easier to let the animals go when you know "the shelter is going to find them good homes," she said.

Adams said the dogs did not have medical problems, other than worms and the birth defect, which is associated with over-breeding and inbreeding.

“Once they were treated” for worms, Adams said, “it quickly became evident they were very lively. They did not have an issue with their mobility. They simple overcame any issues and were getting around.”

The puppies stayed at the Methuen shelter about a week while the staff evaluated them, before moving the dogs into foster care, according to Mike Keiley, director of the Noble Family Adoption Center at the MSPCA/Nevins Farm.

“They’re at a crucial stage of learning,” he said, “so a caged environment isn’t the best.” Keiley said they arrived in good condition after a family member, unable to continue care, surrendered the dogs.

“There was never a question they weren’t cared for well,” he said. "They did have a parasite load in the abdomen. That is typical for a pup, but it was complicated for them,” he said because of the issue with the front legs.

The MSPCA is screening people who want to adopt the puppies. Right now, prospective owners are being asked to fill out an application prior to being interview. Keiley said the plan is to “find perfect matches” for them.

"We’re really hoping we can provide them with a great future,” he said, but added their story should remind pet lovers that “spay and neutering could have prevented this deformity.”

Keiley said if people cannot afford to spay and neuter their pets, the MSPCA may be able to help.

The MSPCA plans to fit the puppies with front-wheel carts when they are around 16 weeks old, according to Adams who said veterinarians weighed the options and decided not to allow the dogs to walk standing on their two hind legs, Adams said.

“Walking upright puts stress on their joints that their little frames aren’t built for,” he said.

For information about how you can contribute to the MSPCA-Angell, contact: Cory Berry-Whitlock at 617-541-5046 or at

Pictured: Hetty and Kensi look at the puppies during the Puppy Play 'n Learn class at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. Photo by Brian Adams, MSPCA-Angell

What do you think of these Chihuahuas? Do you know of rescue animals that have overcome physical limitations? Tell us below!

Comments (3)

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Lisa B.

Lisa B.
4 years ago

Animals can bring such joy to a person's life. I could never understand why my brother who had asthma was always my dad's favorite until I rescued a little Beagle with epilepsy. Helping them makes you feel closer.

Good Point | Reply ›


4 years ago

well I remmeber hope she has only two legs the lab and she can walk on just two fine. Dogs like this are amazing though all animals are. I wish I could fly or run 60 mph. or even breathe above and underwater.

Good Point | Reply ›

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