When a pup lost her leg from a terrible accident in Puerto Rico, she found that she was not alone navigating her new world on three legs.
With support from her friends and her foster family, she could fight through any pain.
Keep reading to hear about one determined pup and all of her dog friends who cheered her on along the way.
Alone and Afraid
When a young, pregnant dog was found all alone and injured in Puerto Rico, it was up to the community to help her.
The young dog, later named Willow, had been hit by a car.
Willow was scooped up and brought to OBRA, a rescue located in Puerto Rico.
The rescue kept Willow as comfortable as they could and began to assess the damage.
Willow’s leg was badly damaged and she needed surgery.
Willow was too pregnant, too close to giving birth – she couldn’t immediately receive the surgery she desperately needed.
Rescuers knew it was dangerous for a dog this young to be pregnant as well.
Everyone hoped for the best for Willow’s health and her puppies, doing everything they could to ensure a successful birth.
Two weeks later on Christmas day, Willow brought ten little gifts into the world.
However, these little gifts would only brighten the world for a short time. Willow tragically lost all 10 of her babies.
Rescuers were heartbroken, but they needed to keep in mind that while they may have lost the puppies, they still had Willow, and Willow still needed them desperately.
Now able to have surgery, Willow’s injured leg was amputated successfully and with no complications.
While Willow was still in a little pain from the surgery, it was so much better than how things were before!
Things were beginning to look up, and would continue to only get better for Willow!
After a brief recovery period, she would be flown to Boston, where her foster family was waiting for her.
After recovery, Willow boarded the plane, having no idea what or who was waiting for her once she reached her destination.
She was scared but hopeful. Little did she know what joy was awaiting her!
Love at First Sight
Willow’s foster family was waiting at the airport for her with open arms.
“When I picked her up at the airport it was love at first sight,” shared Stacey Bruce, volunteer foster with Great Dog Rescue New England. “She had a look of relief on her face, she knew she was going to get taken care of.”
Stacey and her family took Willow home to rest and recover.
Willow couldn’t help but to profusely thank her foster family.
“She attacked us with kisses! She pretty much didn’t stop kissing us for a week,” recalled Stacey. “We all fell in love with her, but we knew she was just a foster.”
Things were definitely looking better, but Willow still had one more small hurdle to cross.
Getting to Know Each Other
All of the kisses in the world couldn’t hide the fact that Willow was in pain.
She had traveled to Boston just days after having her leg amputated.
“She was having a hard time with recovery,” explained Stacey. “So, we bonded with her even more. A lot of times with special needs you tend to bond much more with them.”
Stacey and her family found it so easy to love Willow.
She was a sweet mellow dog that just wanted to be loved, and to love.
Stacey knew that with Willow’s special needs, she would need a special kind of love.
She was worried that Willow wouldn’t find the love she needed from another family.
“We bonded too much with her. We fell in love with her – and adopted her,” shared Stacey.
Willow was now part of the pack – the pack that would get her through recovery.
Tools of the Trade
Once Willow was no longer in pain, she had to learn how to get around.
Lucky for her, she had just the pups by her side to help her!
The first challenge was learning how to go up stairs on three legs.
Her sister Mia was also a tripod and was ready to show Willow how to do it.
“Mia would go up a few steps and wait for Willow,” explained Stacey. “Willow would come and join her, then Mia would go up a few more steps, and wait for Willow to join her again.”
At the top of the stairs was the rest of the pack, cheering Willow on!
Once the stairs were conquered, Willow and her friends couldn’t be stopped – or separated.
Willow and her friends zoom around the house, take baths together, and cuddle when they finally run out of energy.
It’s because of these friends that Willow is the dog that she is today.
“They basically have taught Willow how to be a dog,” Stacey said of all of the resident and foster dogs.
But it’s because of Stacey and all of the other rescuers that Willow is healthy enough to be the dog that she is today.
Good as New
Today, you would never know that Willow had had a tough time with her amputation initially – thanks to her human and dog family.
She can be found in the yard doing zoomies with Mia or chomping on one of her favorite squeak toys.
Thank you to all of the kind people and doggos who helped to make this happen!