Born with two severely deformed, twisted hind legs, Duncan lived the first few months of his life in constant agony. Veterinarians told his caretaker if those legs were not amputated, they would put too hard of a strain on his growing spine, causing permanent damage.
In need of some extra TLC, Duncan was sent to the Panda Paws Rescue, a Vancouver-based animal rescue organization focusing on the care, rehabilitation, and rehoming of pets with special needs.
Amanda Giese, founder of Panda Paws Rescue, explains that Duncan needed medical intervention to alleviate his suffering. She brought the Boxer pup to Dr. Brandon Sherman of Vancouver’s Animal Care Clinic, who performed a double amputation, removing Duncan’s back legs entirely. The surgery may seem drastic to some, Giese says, but without it Duncan would have been in excruciating agony.
Only hours after Duncan’s surgery, something amazing happened—the little pup started to walk. Using only his healthy front legs, Duncan managed to pull himself up and travel around the room, prancing and even playing. Giese could hardly believe what she was seeing; without the burden of his gnarled hind legs, Duncan was completely pain-free and could get around much easier than before his surgery.
“He’s happy, playful, pain-free, joyful and a normal puppy in every other way,” Giese tells KVUE.com.
Many people were worried that Duncan’s quality of life would be too negatively affected after his surgery.
“He was elevating and carrying his bad back legs around so now, this is thousands [of] times easier without the weight,” Giese explains. “It is LESS strain on his body and healthier for him in the long run.”
Some critics even wondered whether it might be more humane to just euthanize the pup. But Giese wants to assure everyone that Duncan is thriving after his surgery.
“Euthanasia was not the answer,” says Giese. “It would have been the simple, quick answer but unless those individuals are the responsible party for Duncan, are a medical professional in the veterinary world with significant orthopedic experience or are here to personally witness the boy in every aspect — opinions are just that.”
And it looks like little Duncan has also found his happy ending — the Panda Paws Rescue website shows his status as “adopted.” His new mom? Amanda Giese, who says she couldn’t help but fall head over heels for this extraordinary Boxer puppy.
“It was love at first sight for our whole family and we couldn’t imagine the next 10-plus years without him bringing joy to our lives,” Giese tells TODAY.com. “We are very blessed and feel like we won the dog lottery with this amazing baby.”
Still Giese says she looks forward to learning more about Duncan as he grows up. She believes because of his physical differences and his happy personality, he will teach others by example for years to come.
“[Duncan] will continue to inspire and educate many,” she says. “He will thrive and have a full, happy life.”
Still Duncan has a long way to go before he is completely healed. He is expected to spend the next few weeks recuperating before starting a regiment of physical therapy and hydrotherapy. Once his muscles are ready and his doctor gives the go-ahead, Duncan will be fitted for a custom doggie wheelchair.
Despite his limitations, and despite any challenges that might arise, Giese is confident her new best friend Duncan will continue to defy the odds for many years to come.
“Many, many dogs live with two legs and with wheelchair assistance these days,” Giese adds. “Every one I’ve ever met has been happier than you could ever imagine. I encourage you to think outside the box; remain optimistic.”