When a dog with a mysterious leg pain was rescued, her rescuers were forced to make a decision that would change her life forever.
But she wouldn’t be alone.
Cheered on by a special foster mom and a forever family waiting to bring her home, she would discover the meaning of true love.
Keep reading to uncover the beautiful journey of a rescue dog that lost her leg but gained something she was never given– love.
“Something Isn’t Right…”
When Erin Burke, volunteer foster and board member of East Tennessee Alliance for Animals located in Chattanooga, Tennessee received a call to foster a dog in need, she didn’t hesitate.
Not long after meeting her new foster, Winifred, Erin knew something was not quite right.
Winifred was limping, avoiding the use of her back right leg.
Erin quickly made phone calls to get to the bottom of what was going on with Winifred.
“The shelter that asked for our help said ‘there’s something wrong with her leg, we’re not sure what it is,’” explained Erin. “But that never stops East Tennessee Alliance for Animals from taking in and helping a dog.”
Erin, a physical therapist by trade, carefully assessed Winifred’s leg. Winifred winced.
It was easy for Erin to see and feel that Winifred’s leg was not okay.
Erin took Winifred to the vet, determined to get to the root of her discomfort.
Winifred underwent a physical exam and x-rays, never letting the stress of the vet visit get in the way of her happy spirit.
When the results came back, Erin couldn’t believe what the x-rays had uncovered.
The Truth Revealed
The x-rays showed that Winifred’s femur had been broken.
There was an obvious fracture that was never treated and been healing incorrectly.
Little Winifred had been so brave and so strong, living life with such a painful injury.
The vet explained that Winifred could suffer from long-term pain if the leg was repaired.
The other option was to amputate Winifred’s leg so that she could enjoy a pain-free happy life as a tripod pup.
Erin and the rest of Winifred’s care team thought long and hard about the right thing to do.
It was a tough decision, and they wanted to make sure they made the best choice.
Looking at Winifred, it seemed she had gotten used to using only three legs, and the fourth was just weighing her down.
“We said let’s go for it, let’s go for the amputation,” Erin shared.
Winifred went in for the surgery that would change her life.
But, the surgery wasn’t the only thing that was about to change her life forever.
The Road to Recovery
Winifred didn’t just have Erin and the rest of the rescue team cheering her on through surgery.
She had her potential forever family right by her side.
Having learned about Winifred through a friend, Winifred’s potential adopters wanted to be with her every step of the way.
“They were there the whole time and just fell in love with this dog,” said Erin.
Winifred’s surgery was a success and she returned to Erin’s home to recover, sleepy from anesthesia.
“She had the tiniest cone, it was so cute,” said Erin.
When it was time for Winifred to take her first steps, everyone held their breath in anticipation.
“Winifred was like halleluiah! It doesn’t hurt anymore,” Erin recalled.
Winifred didn’t just do well on three legs; she was moving better on three legs than she had on four legs!
She jumped on the couch and wanted to chase her favorite toys.
Winifred’s eyes sparkled, revealing her mischievous side that had previously been masked by pain.
Erin had to remind Winifred to slow down and to take some time to recover before fully enjoying her life on three legs.
Winifred even made some new friends along the way!
She was a team player and got along beautifully with Erin’s own dogs and foster pups.
The spunky tripod loved playing dress up and snuggling with her dog friends.
It’s as if Winifred belonged in front of a camera.
Her personality shined through her silly faces and sweet, goofy smile!
Happily Ever After
Soon enough, she would be on her way to her forever life.
Winifred’s adopters had been there for Winifred throughout her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery.
It felt as though they knew her forever and were ecstatic for her to come home.
Winifred shared their feelings and never wanted to be apart from them again.
“She is Velcroed to them,” laughed Erin.
Winifred shares her humans with her dog sister, who she loves just as much.
Today, you can find Winifred chasing her favorite tennis ball when she’s not chasing her sister.
She loves to snuggle, even though she might need a helping hand getting up on the bed.
Thank you to Erin and the rest of Winifred’s rescuers for making the best decision for Winifred when she couldn’t speak for herself.
We’re sure that if Winifred could talk, she would also thank her forever family for loving her unconditionally.
Follow Erin on Instagram to see more of her adorable rescue pups and learn how to help her continue her life saving missions!