LEWISTON, Maine — Kitty and Richard E. Roy weren’t looking for a dog.
Then they met Lady.
She was the last puppy in a litter of their granddaughter’s dog. Just weeks old, the Chihuahua mix was a tiny bundle of yellow fur. By the time she tilted her tiny head to look at them, the Roys were smitten.
“When she came down over the steps I said, ‘She is mine,’” Kitty recalled. “[My granddaughter] said ‘You know she’s handicapped?’ I didn’t care.”
Lady was born with twisted front paws, the cause unclear. Had the Roys not taken her, they said, she was to be euthanized.
Now 8 months old, she’s a happy, healthy puppy who likes playing fetch and chasing the two family cats around the apartment, even if she has to to scoot on her elbows to do it.
“I know to other people she’s handicapped, but to us, no,” Kitty said.
The Roys took Lady with the intention of having her paws fixed. A friend even offered to hold a fundraiser to help pay for the surgery. But soon after they brought her home, a local veterinary specialist told them there was nothing he could do, and likely nothing vets in Boston could do. An overseas vet might be able to help, but it wasn’t a sure thing.
Kitty cried at the news. They’d hoped surgery would help the puppy they already considered their baby. But the Roys ultimately decided not to pursue a fix any further. In their eyes, Lady was perfect the way she was.
“I love her just the same,” Richard said.
The vet has given Lady an otherwise clean bill of health and said she has the same life expectancy of any healthy Chihuahua. The Roys have been warned, however, to watch her weight. Added pounds could hamper her ability to move.
It’s tough, though, to say no to pleading puppy eyes. The Roys keep their cupboard fully stocked with treats.
“She’s so spoiled rotten,” Kitty confessed.
The Roys have considered getting Lady a wheeled cart to help her get around, but they haven’t been able to locate one. They aren’t sure Lady would like having a cart strapped to her anyway; she won’t even wear a dog coat.
But even without assistance, Lady is quick and agile. The Roys can’t catch her when she has her mind set on going somewhere. Or getting someone.
“She runs around here and chases these cats,” Richard said.
The Roys have advice for anyone considering adopting a disabled pet: Do it.
“If you love a dog, you take her the way she is,” Kitty said.
Have an idea for Animal Tales? Contact Lindsay Tice at 689-2854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.