At their home in Louisiana, newly three-legged Pippa follows behind famously three-legged Jeanie, heading toward the sound of a human offering treats. Pippa is starting to realize she is one lucky pup — not only did she get out of the shelter, but she ended up with a canine mentor and a family well-versed in tripod care.
“I didn’t set out to get another three-legged dog, it just kind of happened,” explains Lydia Crochet, who adopted Pippa from the Southern Animal Foundation shelter in New Orleans last month.
Crochet’s first tripod dog, Jeanie, became a Dogster Hero last year after she saved the family’s elderly cockatiel from a hawk attack. She’s also a therapy dog and the subject of a children’s book, “Jeanie the 3-Legged Dog: I Don’t Need Four Feet.” Jeanie is beloved by tens of thousands of people who follow the adorable dog’s Facebook page and Instagram accounts, but up until recently the only pictures of Pippa on social media were more gruesome than glamorous.
With her flesh necrotizing and infection setting in, the little dog was brought to the Southern Animal Foundation after she was hit by a car in May. As explained on the organization’s Facebook page, Pippa’s person sought medical care for her after the accident but quickly ran out of funds. She arrived at the Southern Animal Foundation in life-threatening condition.
“They said the leg was black when she was brought in,” Crochet explains. “So she was obviously in a lot of pain, and her abdomen was completely split open.”
With bones protruding from the open fracture in her rear leg, it was clear Pippa needed surgery and a lot of recovery time.
“They had to remove her leg and the tail. She had to wear a cone for a couple of months, trying to let that heal. The skin on her abdomen had rotted as well, so it took months to get that cleared up,” Crochet says.
Unable to care for her for various reasons, Pippa’s former human surrendered her to the organization, and by July, Southern Animal Foundation’s focus shifted from keeping Pippa alive to finding her a forever home.
Meanwhile, Crochet and her family were discussing adopting a second dog. Jeanine hadn’t always been an only dog, having lost her pal Jack — another rescued terrier mix — a few years ago. The family had planned to eventually adopt again, but in the years after Jack’s death, Crochet and Jeanie became very busy with therapy work. The timing was never right until the summer of 2016, when a local disaster prompted the family to think about adopting again.
“We had some major flooding here in Louisiana. People around Denham Springs, they lost everything and there were animals just displaced,” Crochet explains. “All the shelters were — and are — bursting at the seams.”
When a fan of Jeanie’s Facebook page asked Crochet to share a link to Pippa’s adoption listing, Crochet knew she could do better than that. Soon she and her husband were making the three-hour drive to the shelter in New Orleans.
During their first visit, Pippa was very scared and wanted nothing to do with them. But when they came back the next day, she showed them that losing a leg hasn’t slowed her down.
“We walked her on leash a little bit, and we could tell she was pulling — she wanted to run. We saw she was pretty high energy.”
Three days after their first meeting, Crochet and her husband adopted Pippa. The timing was perfect as the shelter needed to make room for new dogs arriving from flooded parishes.
Once at home, Pippa was introduced to 9-year-old Jeanie, who (accustomed to the docile dogs in her therapy group) didn’t know what to make of the high-energy 2-year-old.
“The first few days she was a little skeptical. Now I find them cuddling together,” says Crochet. “We joke that Jeanie has pulled her aside and said, ‘Look kid, don’t screw this up. It’s a pretty good gig here.’”
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Pippa will have been with the Crochets for one full month. While she’s still afraid of new people, brooms, and sudden noises, Pippa has made a ton of progress adjusting to her new, three-legged life.