CORVALLIS, Oregon — Tigger, a companionable Staffordshire terrier mix who underwent specialized surgery in late October 2016 to help him walk on defective front paws, paid a visit to the sidewalk in front of the Court Street Dairy Lunch restaurant on Monday.
Happy as ever.
The brindle-colored dog, along with his former foster-mum-now-forever mom Eve Good, was born with two deformed front legs that have made normal walking impossible. He has scooted and stopped to rest more than most canines in his short life.
But veterinary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Warnock and her crack surgical and care team at the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine changed that when she performed surgery on the dog more than a year ago.
Warnock operated on the dog, whose condition is called ectrodactyly, or split hand or lobster claw, after she determined that he had a lot of love to give and should not be euthanized, as too many others before her had recommended.
She believed then and now that if she could help the dog ambulate closer to normal, that he would make the perfect therapy dog to help humans, especially children, understand their disabilities better.
Monday, Tigger showed off new prosthetics he had custom made by Derrick Campana at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia. The prosthetics help the leg that was operated on and the one that wasn't due to cost and significant defect.
The prosthetics feature a tough purple exterior covering a soft, white interior padding that cushions the impact for Tigger. A exterior hoof, of sorts, creates a cradle for his deformed paws so that they are insulated from pressure.
Good says the exuberant dog will start physical therapy soon to formally learn how to walk with the artificial limbs that are held on by Velcro straps. It's estimated Tigger will need two to three sessions per week to master his new gait.
Good is encouraged though. She said the dog, when she and the veterinary hospital staff tried the prosthetics on Tigger, he has not licked at them, bitten them, or tried other ways to remove them.
He's a bit shaky when they're first fitted to him, she said, but within moments of having them strapped on, he's walking almost normally. And certainly at a normal height instead of being hunched over all the time.
"It's so amazing to see," Good said. "And I really want to thank everyone who donated to him to make this possible."
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