Posted 3 months ago
Chloe with owner Chappie. (Image: Chappie Hunter/Steve Chatterley/SWNS)
By Fiona Jackson
The bond we have with our canine companions is like no other, so we love to see a dog being cared for by an owner who’s perfect for them. A detective who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident has adopted a double amputee dog – and now they both use prosthetics to go for walks.
Chappie Hunter, 49, lost his leg when he was hit by a car and has learned to live with a prosthetic ever since.
Chloe, a nine-year-old Shih Tzu, was abused by her previous owner and had both her back paws amputated as a result. She uses two prosthetic paws to walk about, and instantly bonded with her foster dad. They now share more than just a disability – they share a home.
Chappie, from San Diego, California, USA, said: "She basically adopted us. We instantly fell in love with Chloe and told the Humane Society we would like to make her a permanent part of our family.
"Besides being an amazingly sweet dog, I grew a connection with her as an amputee myself. We both have to put our legs on to walk or run and she shows nothing but resilience. She and I have both adapted and overcome our injuries."
In 2013, San Diego Police Detective Chappie was hit by an oncoming car while riding his bike and struck the passenger side with such force that it instantly cut his leg off below the knee.
"The leg landed on one side of the car and my body landed on the other, " he said.
He was flown to Sharp Memorial Hospital and fitted with a prosthetic and a flex-run leg too, enabling him to get back into fitness and return to work a year later.
Fast forward to this year, and a friend from San Diego Humane Society rang up Chappie to ask him if he wanted to foster a dog that had been brought in called Chloe.
The Shih Tzu had been rescued from a home in Mira Mesa a month earlier, where she'd had her back paws bandaged so tightly it had cut off blood flow.
Chloe and Chappie both use prosthetic legs to get around. (Image: Chappie Hunter/Steve Chatterley/SWNS)
The Humane Society said her previous owner was trying to prevent Chloe from licking and scratching and, as a result, she suffered severe injuries. The poor pooch had to have her back paws amputated and had to re-learn how to walk using a wheelchair and orthopaedic slippers.
After five weeks recovering in the shelter, Chappie went in to meet Chloe for the first time to consider her for foster. When he saw her, he was angry.
He said: "I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel to innocent animals. It’s heart-breaking to know who much pain she probably went through for a long time."
He took her home to his wife Arlene and 14-year-old son Gavin and she immediately became a part of the family.
Chappie said: "Chloe was obviously a little nervous, but she was a total sweetheart. Within two days she acclimated to our home and family and was running around wagging her tail and happy as could be."
The Hunters decided to make it official and adopt Chloe permanently, ensuring she has a safe and loving home for the rest of her life.
Chappie said: "There are thousands of dogs in shelters who just want to find a forever home and share the love they have for their new owner.
"A lot of times people will overlook the disabled dogs thinking it will be too difficult to care for them. Who wants a dog with two prosthetic legs? Even I was a little concerned at first on the potential for difficulties and invested time in our family’s lives. Within one day of being with Chloe, she put all my concerns to rest.
"Besides having put Chloe’s legs on and take them off, which is only a 30-second simple process, Chloe is the easiest dog to care for. We are just happy to give her a happy home."