Sunday, March 6, 2011

Meet Copper, the Three-Legged Leader~

A friend who has a dog team had a litter of puppies that needed names so she asked her young friend if she had any ideas.  The youngster was studying the periodic table in school so suggested minerals and they chose names including Iron, Nickel, and Copper.     While feeding the puppies when they were a few days old, my friend noticed Copper was missing part of her back leg!  When Copper was born, she had four feet/legs but somehow the lower leg was .........gone!!

 The bone was cleaned and exposed like a piece of cooked meat.  None of the dogs gave any indication that anything was wrong and didn't say what happened.  Maybe the leg was injured in a crush and the mother took care of the injury?  Maybe it was hurt when the mother moved the litter to a new nest?  Copper didn't seem to notice it missing and there was no evidence to give clues.  Even the bones were gone.

The musher took the puppy to the vet where they decided amputate part of the remaining leg leaving the muscle and a little bone.  Copper returned home to her mom and siblings where she scrapped with the other puppies, secured her spot at feeding time and continued to gain weight just like the others.  She seemed completely happy with her life.

As the puppies grew they were taken on walks and eventually hooked to the sled.  Copper always went along roaming freely while the others were in harness.  As the puppies were running Copper would lope along with them keeping the same pace on her three legs.  When it was time to stop Copper was in the middle of the puppies like she wanted to be a part of everything.

One day her musher decided to put a harness on her to see how she did.  Surprisingly the harness stayed on in spite of the missing leg.  She was strong and assertive in harness.  From behind the sled her gait was just like the others making the missing leg unnoticeable to those who didn't know.  Since Copper kept acting like she wanted to be in front of the other dogs she was moved up the line to the leader position.  She fit perfectly, a born leader! 

Because of her sweet personality and brightness,  Copper has also becomes a pet as well as a leader.  By day she enjoys time in the lot with the other dogs, and at night she is cozy in the house with her people.

Happily leading her way through life.....

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