An­i­mal crack­ers!

A paw­fect pup

Real People - - NEWS -

Watch­ing the dog in the Face­book video, I choked back tears. The pre­vi­ous day, she’d had all her legs am­pu­tated be­low the knee, but her tail wagged and her eyes were bright and trust­ing.

‘This dog needs us,’ I squealed to my hus­band, Richard, 44, and daugh­ter Me­gan, 12.

It was Jan­uary 2016 and Chi Chi, about three years old, was in an an­i­mal hos­pi­tal in South Korea.

She’d been found by a res­cue char­ity in a rub­bish bag, left for dead out­side a meat farm.

Her paws were bound to­gether in prepa­ra­tion for slaugh­ter – dog meat is a del­i­cacy in South Korea – but the bind­ings had eaten into her flesh so, in­stead of be­ing killed, she’d been dumped.

By the time she reached the Nabiya Irion Hope Project, an an­i­mal wel­fare group, the only way to save her life was to am­pu­tate.

I lived in the USA, but the next day, I called the an­i­mal hos­pi­tal where Chi Chi was.

‘We want to adopt her,’ I said. Car­ing for her was hard work, the res­cue man­ager warned. Chang­ing her ban­dages took half an hour a day.

We made a video about life with our three dogs – Mag­gie, the 12year-old black Labrador, and our two bea­gles, res­cued from labs, Harry, 12, and Kip­per, 10.

Then we were in­tro­duced to Chi Chi via Skype.

She was drag­ging her­self around on her tummy, but was so friendly, lick­ing her vet’s hands and en­joy­ing belly rubs.

Next time we saw her on Skype, she was hob­bling along.

‘She’s so de­ter­mined,’ I cried, im­pressed by her courage.

Two months later, Chi Chi flew to our home in Phoenix, Ari­zona. When the van pulled up at our house, and Ju, Chi Chi’s carer from South Korea, placed her gen­tly on our lawn, I knelt be­side her.

‘Hello, Chi Chi,’ I said, stroking her soft fur. She rolled straight over for a belly rub. She was home…

That first night, my hubby, Richard, slept down­stairs with her. Then we moved her to our bed­room.

Be­ing close to peo­ple, de­spite ev­ery­thing she’d been through, ob­vi­ously made her feel safe.

And our dogs were so gen­tle with her, clearly re­al­is­ing she was dis­abled. Still, do­ing her ban­dages took a bit of trial and er­ror – af­ter our first ef­fort, she walked five paces and they un­rav­elled!

‘Sorry,’ we gulped as she looked up at us, con­fused and lop­sided.

So, we put our daugh­ter Me­gan’s red base­ball socks over the ban­dages and se­cured them around Chi Chi’s shoul­ders.

She loved ly­ing in the gar­den on sunny days, but it was ob­vi­ous she wanted to ex­plore fur­ther.

How­ever, if the ban­dages un­rav­elled on the pave­ment, she could dam­age her stumps…

So, I bought a dog stroller to take her out and about. Then, af­ter see­ing her on lo­cal tele­vi­sion, a ca­nine phys­io­ther­a­pist of­fered to help us out.

‘Good girl,’ I clapped as she swam around his doggy pool.

Next, the ther­a­pist’s friend made Chi Chi some tem­po­rary foam pros­thet­ics.

As soon as I’d strapped them on her legs, she was ready to go.

‘Slow down,’ I laughed as she pulled me along the street, thrilled.

Still, she needed pros­thet­ics that would last a life­time, so we crowd-funded to raise the £2,700 we needed for a proper set.

They ar­rived in Septem­ber 2016, and Chi Chi got the hang of them in no time.

Kip­per the bea­gle got a shock when he stole her squeaky toy

– a naughty habit of his – and she zipped af­ter him and pinched it straight back!

Ev­ery morn­ing, Richard car­ries Chi Chi down­stairs and straps her boots on.

‘Now you’re Su­per Dog,’ he tells her, and she’s off – scoot­ing out to the gar­den.

Her can-do at­ti­tude and love of peo­ple made me de­cide to train her as a ther­apy dog.

When she qual­i­fied, I was so proud.

The first place we vis­ited was a ward for pa­tients who’d re­cently had am­pu­ta­tions.

Chi Chi greeted ev­ery­one in turn, tail wag­ging.

‘She’s had four legs am­pu­tated, and I’ve only lost one,’ a woman gulped. ‘If she can keep go­ing, I can, too.’

Chi Chi re­ally is an in­spi­ra­tion. She may have lost her paws, but she has the big­gest heart of any dog I’ve ever met.

Noth­ing holds her back – we’re priv­i­leged to have her in our lives.

She goes for gold ev­ery day!

Eliz­a­beth How­ell, 46, Phoenix,

Ari­zona

Now she’s a Su­per Dog!

Our poor girl af­ter her surgery From Korea to the US, Chi Chi’s found a home

We crowd­funded to buy her pros­thet­ics

Foot­less and fancy-free! Chi Chi’s raring to go

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