Handicapped Service Dog Receives New Prosthetic Leg

Service dogs play a most helpful role in the lives of those with disabilities, but what happens when the dog is the one with the disability?

According toTODAY, the team at Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs in Milton, Georgia, has dealt with that very scenario.

One of their golden retrievers was born with only three paws last year. The employees at the center suspect that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the dog’s foot in utero, thus preventing the dog from growing a fourth paw.

The Canine Assistants team named the newborn puppy “Pirelli” after the tire company. They named the puppy after a tire company because of his need for a “retread.”

Jennifer Arnold, the nonprofit organization’s founder and author of In a Dog’s Heart, told TODAY:

“You could see in Pirelli… something very special.”

So Arnold and her team came up with a different way for Pirelli to help others. What did they do?

The team took him to schools to promote a message of acceptance and overcoming obstacles. NBC affiliate WXIA tracked Pirelli’s journey, and soon donations for a prosthetic leg cam rushing in from all around.

Hanger Clinic, which is a company that specializes in prosthetics for people, soon created a carbon-fiber foot for Pirelli. The young puppy’s carbon-fiber foot is similar to the one worn by Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius.

Pirelli continues to be an inspiration to many people and will receive the new leg within the next few weeks.

Arnold said:

“It doesn’t matter what your body looks like or how it functions. What makes you important as a person is what you are on the inside.”