Ripley is one very fortunate puppy.
The six-month-old German Shepherd recently found her forever home with Chantelle Winstanley, a dog walker and trainer, who was willing to take on a three-legged puppy.
Ripley was being fostered by The Dog Rescuers in Oakville, and was going to require a lot of care in her growing years. Winstanley saw a photo of her on Facebook, and couldn’t say no.
Ripley has recently received her first prosthetic, made by PawsAbility of Oakville, at a cost of about $900. She will definitely need a permanent one, which will be more expensive — likely about $1,500 — but The Dog Rescuers has committed to fundraising for that.
Winstanley says there might be one more needed before that, as Ripley grows, and she will fundraise for that, as she has for the expenses of caring for Ripley this far.
When she first took her to the veterinarian, there was a fear Ripley might need her back leg amputated, although it’s only her paw and about six inches of her leg that’s missing — how that happened, The Dog Rescuers weren’t able to say.
She has been on “all kinds of nerve and pain medication,” but that has been cut back — she doesn’t seem to need it now.
Walking on one shorter leg was leading to a twisted spine, says Winstanley. The prosthetic is helping that, and her leg, which had no muscle mass, is getting stronger. Without it, she puts some weight on it, but with it, “she’s pretty fast.”
She goes to Niagara Canine Conditioning once a week for a half hour of physiotherapy and a half-hour of hydrotherapy, which she loves.
All the effort is intended to give Ripley as much time as possible on four feet, to help her development, says Winstanley, and put off amputation of her leg for as long as possible, maybe forever.
She was a little nervous of other dogs at first, but now is much more relaxed and goes along on dog-walking adventures, often in Queen’s Royal Park with the pets of some of Winstanley’s clients. At home, she plays with two other dogs and three cats. The menagerie also includes a hamster and a snake, says Winstanley — all rescues. Caring for animals is her passion as well as her job, and she will work harder, and do whatever she can to care for Ripley and the others.
The puppy, she describes, is a perfect pet — sassy but sweet.
“Her foster family did an incredible job of socializing her. They carried her around with them everywhere they went in a baby sling. She thinks anyone who stops to say hello is her best friend.”
Donations to help Ripley or any dog in need can be made at http://canineconditioningcentre.ca/, https://www.thedogrescuersinc.ca/, on her behalf at the http://hartzelanimalhospital.com/, or the company where the prosthetics are made, https://www.pawsability.ca/.
To contact Winstanley at Chantelle’s Pet Care, for dog-walking or training, call 905-963-3003.