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BONZ: Three-legged Harper and best buddy Rigby

What is it about humans reading so much into us animals? Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that I can be understood without being able to speak English. But sometimes, we’re just ready to move on when our humans are still stuck.

Take my friends Harper and Rigby. The whole reason their humans, Kathy and Pete Gutierrez, got Rigby was because they thought Harper looked depressed. Harper needed a puppy, they thought, so they brought Rigby home.

Turns out, Harper wasn’t depressed. He was just mellow, Kathy says. He’s the same with Rigby around as he was before.

Kathy and Pete are both dentists, so I can understand the misdiagnosis – they aren’t psychologists, after all. But when Harper got cancer, they went to pieces, even after they knew they weren’t going to lose their precious Harper. They were just going to lose a part of him – his leg.

The cancer showed up as a spot near his dew claw that looked like a flea bite he’d gotten way too interested in. After a lot of tests and even more worry, Kathy and Pete finally got the good news that the cancer was limited to his leg. If they took off his leg, the cancer would be cured!

Cured! Isn’t that terrific?? No. Not if you’re a softie like Kathy. It just about killed her to have to feel responsible for making a four-legged animal three-legged. “Who does this to their animals?” she asked herself.

To make things worse, the family had just moved into a house with marble floors, and when they brought woozy Harper back from the vet, he had the hardest time getting a grip with just one front paw. Kathy had ordered him special strap-on shoes, but that didn’t help a bit. She put down pieces of carpet from her friend at the carpet store. But Harper was still afraid he’d slip. “He was in absolute misery, just terrified of slipping on the floor.”

But you know what? Things turned out just fine. Three days after his surgery, Harper just launched out and went for it. “He’s great now,” says Kathy a year later, though she still lifts his hips when they’re going up or down the stairs.

The only thing different about Harper is an improvement – he swims better with three legs than with four!

“He just double times,” says Kathy. “And he doesn’t go in circles.”

There are times Rigby dives in the water right on top of Harper. And still, Harper just keeps going.

He’s so confident, they even take him on their boat. “Harper just hobbles in and stands up in the boat like a pirate – no fear!”

Now and then, he still wipes out on the marble floor. But that just makes Kathy laugh. That’s fine with Harper. Anything’s better than her fretting. He’s just hoping he doesn’t get a toothache.

Till next time,

Raven

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