Chi Chi, a six-year-old golden retriever, is energetic and loving. She likes squeaky toys and carrots and cuddles with her owners, Elizabeth Howell, her husband, and their daughter.
But Chi Chi is no ordinary dog: She’s a quadruple amputee who walks with four custom prosthetic legs.
Chi Chi, who Howell says is a “blessing every day in our lives,” finished a therapy dog training course three years ago and now regularly visits a veterans center, an assisted-living facility, and special-needs students at an elementary school.
It’s a remarkable transformation for a dog who was left in a trash bag outside a meat market in early 2016. Her legs had been bound with wire, leaving bones and tissue exposed. The rescue group that found her was going to euthanize her but had second thoughts after rescuers saw her wagging tail and positive spirit, Howell said. Instead, they decided to amputate all of her legs, and they gave her a name: Chi Chi, after a Christian motivational speaker from Australia, Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs.
“They decided there was something special about her and that she wanted to live, so they decided to try and save her,” said her owner.