[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000v4dz_Y2ndo4″ g_name=”Rescue-Dog-Cubby” width=”600″ f_fullscreen=”t” bgtrans=”t” pho_credit=”iptc” twoup=”f” f_bbar=”t” f_bbarbig=”f” fsvis=”f” f_show_caption=”t” crop=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_l=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_show_slidenum=”t” f_topbar=”f” f_show_watermark=”t” img_title=”casc” linkdest=”c” trans=”xfade” target=”_self” tbs=”5000″ f_link=”t” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”t” f_ap=”t” f_up=”f” height=”400″ btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” ]When Cubby – a 6-year-old heeler-corgi cross – was discovered on Valentine’s Day by the animal rescue group NMDOG, the severely dehydrated stray was making his way along a road in Las Vegas, N.M., missing one back leg, with the other barely hanging on.
“It was something very, very brutal, with much force,” like an illegal trap, that caused the injuries, Angela Stell told KOAT-TV last month.
Stell is the founder of NMDOG, a Rio Rancho-based nonprofit rescue that helps some of the most badly abused animals in the state.
“He had some serious angels watching over him that day,” she said.
Since then, Cubby has had another group of angels watching out for him, starting with Stell. The group also includes numerous veterinarians and a nationally recognized prosthesis expert who is best-known for designing a new tail for a dolphin that was featured in a Disney movie in 2011.
Cubby’s journey to recovery started in earnest at Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque, where he went through 4 ½ hours of surgery to amputate what was left of his back legs.
This month, he became the subject of a consultation with Kevin Carroll, a national leader in the field of prosthesis, for the dog’s new set of prosthetic limbs.
Carroll, vice president for prosthetics at Hanger Clinic, with offices nationwide, including one in Rio Rancho, met with Cubby, Cubby’s new owner and other prosthetic experts, veterinarians and physicians earlier to brainstorm about new prosthetics for the dog.
“It’s important to us as physicians – every now and again, a two-legged dog comes along,” Carroll said. “The humane thing to do is to try and help animals that are out there.”
Carroll’s 30 years of prosthesis work includes the case in which he helped develop a new tail for a bottlenose dolphin that involved a special silicone gel sleeve, material now used for human prostheses. “Dolphin Tale,” a 2011 film starring Harry Connick Jr. and Morgan Freeman, was inspired by Carroll’s work.
Gabrielle Brodehl, Hanger Clinic manager in Rio Rancho, said the work between the veterinarians and prosthetists was exciting.
“Certainly, we make prosthetic limbs for people and for a living; why can’t we apply the same with the help of great veterinary assistance that can help us along, that understand the anatomy and how it’s different from human anatomy – that bridges that gap so we can provide the same kind of care to our animal friends?” she said.
Laura Hady, a veterinarian with Canine Physical Rehabilitation of New Mexico, has been working with Cubby and is now his new owner.
“I’ve adopted him. He’s part of our family now,” she told the Journal on Friday.
“At first, he didn’t want to be touched by people at all. He was afraid of all people because he was so vulnerable to pain. After a couple of days, he cried if we weren’t touching him,” she said.
She said future projects for Cubby need to help the dog move more freely.
“He’s not like a couch potato dog,” she said. “He wants to go.”
Cubby can walk on his front legs as well as with the help of an earlier set of prosthetic limbs. The prostheses, known as check sockets, help the physicians see how the dog walks and maneuvers. Brodehl said Cubby’s small residual limbs make it difficult to keep his legs in the prostheses while walking and running.
She said plans for Cubby’s next prostheses include a body jacket with wheels to help Cubby move faster.
Since getting a dog cart and his first prosthetic set six weeks ago, Hady said, she has taken Cubby to a number of dog events.
“When we go to events where there’s a dog that doesn’t walk well or has a cart, you don’t know how many people stop us, say, ‘Wow, he can go in a race, he can do this just like anyone else.’ It’s good for people to see that dogs don’t have limitations,” she said.
Brodehl said Cubby’s visits to Hanger Clinic help put many of the clients at ease.
“When Cubby comes out, that waiting room lights up because it’s a different kind of experience. There’s something about animals that people relate to and sympathize and warm up to,” she said.
Stell, on Friday, said, “his will to live is why he is alive today.”
KOAT-TV and Journal staff contributed to this report.