Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Orlando rescue dog gets new paw, practices walking again

Little Debbie Paw

A little media attention and a lot of people who cared helped “Little” Debbie get her new paw, new pup parents and new lease on life.

When the gray and white Pit Bull, Debbie, named for the snack food, was found injured and abandoned in a rough neighborhood near Miami, many humans stepped up to help her: the children who first found her, 1 Lucky Dog Rescue and ABC Prosthetics and Orthotics, which donated its services – not to mention her new pet parents and many others.

Those “others,” by the way, included celebrities and staff from “Good Morning America” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” along with dog-lovers all around the country

Homeless to happiness
The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that, a year since she was found homeless, the 65-pound dog is navigating happily on her new plastic and carbon-fiber paw and seems pleased with her new neighborhood, doggy parents and current lifestyle.

Her new “mom,” Chaya Springer, is the 24-year-old engineering student chosen from many candidates to adopt Debbie, and she knows her dog is lucky.

“In fact, we’re all just lucky that everything worked out … She’s going to be a track star now,” Springer told the Orlando Sentinel.

Prosthetics for bionic dogs like Debbie
While prosthetics for dogs have been around for more than 10 years and do cost less than human counterparts, the fitting and molding may run as high as several thousand dollars per device, and most dogs need one or more replacements during their lives.

Longwood veterinarian Rick Marrinson, D.V.M.told the Orlando Sentinel that dogs and cats hold about 60 percent of their weight on the front legs, which means they can get around fairly well if they’re missing a back leg.

“But if it’s a front leg, the problem you have is that eventually the other front leg is going to break down. The joint will likely become arthritic and degenerate from the extra pressure and compensation,” he emphasized.

Such was the case with Debbie, and Michelle Rodriguez, co-founder of 1 Lucky Dog Rescue, knew it. So she did her best to attract the media attention that she hoped would lead to an offer of a prosthetic paw – something her nonprofit rescue group certainly couldn’t afford.

It worked: Around and About Inc. in Plantation, Fla., answered their prayers with Debbie’s first prosthetic limb, and now she has her fourth, hopefully final, bionic paw.

“We just have to watch her when she has it on,” remarked her new mom. “We have to make sure she doesn’t eat it.”

 This content is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.