I saw two new neighbors walking their two dogs recently. They made a wholesome scene as they exercised with their two large dogs. Suddenly, I noticed the white dog had only three legs. He was keeping up with and even walking ahead of the second dog, in spite of having to hop a bit. I approached the couple and introduced myself. I learned that they are Chelsey Randle and Wade Daus. I asked how they came to have a three-legged pet. We set up an interview, and I visited in their living room, except that Wade was at work.

Chelsey told me their story.

A couple of years ago, the couple was living in the state of New York and wanted to take their relationship a step further.

“We wanted to add a pet to our lives,” she said as she tried to hush the two dogs that were overly excited to have company.

After their discussion, Chelsey turned to the Internet to find a rescue dog and fell in love when she saw a seven-week-old, white puppy with a teddy-bear face. Wade agreed that they would drive to Pennsylvania where the dog was to be shipped. They adopted him and took him home. He walked fine, but Chelsey noticed a swollen joint in the lower joint of the puppy’s left leg. After two weeks at his new home, he began limping. The couple took him to a veterinarian for an X-ray and saw that the leg was damaged through some type of injury.

Mowgli received a cast and a crate. After two weeks, the leg was worse. He was fitted with a larger cast and crated again. Both times Mowgli suffered. He hated the crate and had to wear a cone around his neck to prevent him from chewing his cast. He whimpered a lot and seemed miserable, according to Chelsey.

Meanwhile, the vet bills were growing. One of their friends set up a go-fund-me account to help the couple pay for Mowgli’s expenses. During the third vet visit, they were told their only option was to re-cast a third time. They sought another opinion and were told that Mowgli faced having his leg broken and reset with no guarantees, or they could have it amputated.

“We felt so sad,” said Chelsey. “Our Mowgli was 12 weeks old by then and in pain.”

They chose to amputate, a decision the couple knew at once was right. Mowgli was up shortly afterward and was free of pain. He began walking on his three good legs so well that he could outstand any four-legged dog. He began chasing squirrels and birds. He learned to swim. To make up for some of his unhappy days, the couple rescued another dog, a blue-tick hound they named Snoop. Mowgli had a “brother.”

Now Chelsey enjoys the attention Mowgli gets whenever she and Wade walk him. They laugh at the antics both dogs pull.

“They crack me up every day,” she said.

Recently she returned from an errand and found all of the plastic shopping bags from the kitchen cabinet scattered around the room. She knew that both dogs were guilty because they were hiding in the same crate.

“I think they have a party whenever I leave the house,” she said.

Sometimes, when she or Wade enter the house, Mowgli runs and hides. They know he has done something wrong, such as chew a hole in the arm of the couch. However, when Snoop does something bad, Mowgli won’t make eye contact with his masters, but he will nod his head in the direction of Snoop.

In addition to the dogs, the couple has two cats that are forced to stay on the run from the two energetic dogs.

“I’ve had animals all of my life,” Chelsey said. “First my family had cats that died, and then Dad got a dog. I was in high school when my step-father and I read a Caesar Milan book about a dog trainer. We decided to get a dog and that I would have to know how to care for it.”

Having pets allows the couple to feel more like a family, and they especially love having Mowgli. They often take both dogs hiking, and Mowgli always keeps up.

“He will be two in February,” Chelsey said, “and I am grateful that it was his face that we stopped scrolling on when we were looking for a dog.

A lot of people would not have done for him what we did, but we look at pets as family and not as animals.

Mowgli and Snoop are lucky dogs to have that kind of love. S C

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