Roo the rescue dog might be short on paws, but she’s long on heart.
“She’s got a great spirit. She’s a little warrior,” owner Julie Horncastle told Global News.
The year-old old pup came to Canada through Petfinder as a rescue from Iran. When she arrived, she had only her two back legs — something Horncastle said didn’t slow her down.
“She was born without front paws, so she’s got sort of what looks like a chicken wing on the left side… and on the right she has what I call a drumstick, a three-quarter-length leg, and she sort of used it to thump around a little bit,” said Horncastle.
“Mostly she hopped around like a kangaroo, and they called her Kangaroo on the website.”
In fact, Roo is an accomplished jumper, and sits on her bum as if she were a person, Horncastle said.
WATCH: Instagram videos show the progress Roo has made since getting her third limb
Now with the help from her new family — and people around the world — she’s added a third limb, and is inspiring everyone she meets.
Horncastle originally took Roo on as a foster dog in November, with the intention of caring for her while an expected new owner recovered from illness in hospital. She decided while she had Roo in her care, she’d try and improve her mobility as much as possible.
The first attempt was a wheelchair.
“That was unsuccessful,” said Horncastle.
“She hated it. We strapped her in and she just hated the thing.”
So Horncastle turned to an Abbotsford veterinarian and an animal orthopedic specialist from Saltspring with the aim of setting her up with a prosthetic leg.
The vet amputated a vestigial toe on her ‘drumstick,’ made a specialized mould, and sent it off for manufacture.
On Monday, Roo’s life-changing front leg arrived.
“She had a few weird first steps — she wasn’t sure what to do with it. And then we went out in the parking lot and I walked away a few steps and she came thumping after me and just took to it right away,” she said.
“This is a dog that has never walked before, so that was pretty amazing.”
To help pay for the prosthetic, Horncastle turned to an online fundraising campaign that quickly exceeded its $3,000 goal.
Along with financial support came a flood of supportive messages and positive connections around the globe, Horncastle said.
“I couldn’t believe how much she was a lightning rod for the goodness of people. We set up a GoFundMe page to pay for her prosthetic and her vet bills and people just came out of the woodwork,” she said.
In February, Roo’s original adoption fell through. By then she’d wormed her way into the Horncastle family’s hearts, and they decided to adopt her permanently.
But it’s not just the Horncastle family’s hearts she’s been melting.
“All the people at the dog park, when they saw her with her new leg on they were so happy, they all gave me hugs, they all gave her happiness and rubs,” she said.
“For a dog to bring a whole world and a community together, I was just beside myself. I didn’t know what to expect, but I never expected that.”