CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In a lot of ways, he’s a perfectly normal dog, but his life is anything but normal.
Pippy is a three-legged, German Short-Haired Pointer. Five years ago Pippy jumped off a 25-foot cliff while Angela Struckmeyer was on a hike. After several months of trying to save his leg, she and her husband made the tough decision to amputate.
“We were traumatized,” Struckmeyer said. “We were worried. We were sick. We didn’t know what his life would be like on three legs.”
It’s a question the Struckmeyers ask Pippy regularly.
“We look at him and ask him, ‘do you have this? Are you ok with this?’ Every day he looks at us and smiles, and says ‘let’s go.’”
They take Pippy to Long Animal Hospital for hydrotherapy once a week to help strengthen his remaining front leg. Despite the therapy, his leg still has a hard time keeping up. The ultimate solution would be a prosthetic, but most experts say his amputated limb is too short.
“That’s true in most cases,” Struckmeyer said. “Now with cutting-edge technology, there are techniques that enable a dog with his limitations to have a prosthetic and brace that fits.”
Struckmeyer found a dog with a similar story to Pippy in Cincinnati. In his spare time, a prosthetist made an artificial limb for a 150-pound English Mastiff named Moose.
“Like us, they were told ‘no’ by many,” Struckmeyer said. “They were told ‘yes’ by one, and I only need to be told ‘yes’ by one.”
Struckmeyer wants to spread Pippy’s story as far and as wide as possible, with hopes of finding an expert willing to take a chance on her three-legged pup.
“And hopefully pave the way for all tripod owners out there that feel discouraged and feel a sense of helplessness, when there’s so much hope,” Struckmeyer said.