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A 2-year-old Rottweiler in Colorado has become the second known dog ever to receive four prosthetic limbs — and is on his way to playing fetch and chasing felines for the first time since he was a puppy.
Brutus was left outside in cold weather by his breeder when he was young and suffered frostbite on his paws. The breeder attempted an at-home amputation on the Rottweiler, but left Brutus even more brutalized, according to a statement last week from Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where the dog underwent surgery to mitigate the damage.
But Brutus was still left without paws and with misaligned legs, which made it difficult for him to walk, let alone run and play.
Laura Aquilina, the dog’s new owner, decided this was unacceptable for Brutus, whom she first fostered and then adopted, according to the hospital. She started a crowdfunding campaign, which raised $12,500 — enough for a company called OrthoPets to create new legs for Brutus and for his physical therapy.
“He’s learning how to move with them on. Once he’s mastered that, we will help him achieve higher-level functioning activities, like hiking and playing with other dogs," said Sasha Foster, Colorado State University’s certified canine rehabilitation therapist.
Foster said her work is rewarding because she gets to help pet patients and their human owners. "When you improve the quality of life for a dog, you improve the quality life for the entire family,” Foster said.
The founder of OrthoPets, Martin Kaufman, said the company learned a lot from the first dog, Naki’o, that they fitted with four prosthetics. "We learned a lot from Naki’o’s story and were able to apply that knowledge to Brutus’ case," he said.
— Elisha Fieldstadt