He’s only seven months old, but little Pee-Wee the two-legged Chihuahua is already having an impact on people across the globe.
“He’s received gifts from Spain. He got something in the mail a little while ago from Scotland,” explains Patrice Brennan, who created a Facebook account for little Pee-Wee after adopting the special needs pup in December 2014.
“So many people write me on a daily basis about how they have a disability, or their spouse is sick in the hospital with cancer,” she says. “They watch Pee-Wee’s videos, and they laugh, and they’re inspired.”
Those videos show a puppy who isn’t letting his lack of front legs keep him from doing anything he wants.
“He runs, hops, walks on his back two legs. It’s amazing to me,” says Brennan, who adopted Pee-Wee through the Mia Foundation, which finds homes for pets with birth defects. Pee-Wee was one of two pups surrendered to the foundation by a Chihuahua breeder in Texas.
“There were three in the litter,” she says. “The two brothers came out with no front legs, and the girl was completely normal. The breeder decided to keep the girl, of course, and surrendered the two brothers.”
Brennan is not sure of the circumstances of the operation Pee-Wee was born into, but suspects it was a backyard breeding situation.
“I do praise the breeder for surrendering them and not just euthanizing them,” she says, adding that less-lucky puppies have been drowned by humans when born with similar birth defects.
Brennan first saw pictures of Pee-Wee and his brother when she was acting as the secretary for the Mia Foundation, and it was love at first sight. She just couldn’t get the puppy out of her mind (his brother was later adopted by another family). Unfortunately, she was in Wisconsin, and Pee-Wee was almost a thousand miles away in New York, being fostered through the foundation. Brennan wasn’t sure how she would get to him until a dog-loving friend stepped in.
“I was turning 50, and one of my best friends wanted to get me something big. She asked, ‘What do you want for your 50th birthday?’ And I said, Pee-Wee,” Brennan recalls.
”She bought a plane ticket, and she flew from O’Hare Airport in Illinois to New York and met the owner of the foundation at the airport and brought Pee-Wee back to Wisconsin.”
Little Pee-Wee was welcomed into Brennan’s home just after midnight on December 9, 2014. He joined a family of four other Chihuahuas and a fellow rescue dog named Madison, a Shih Tzu who’s been blind in one eye since puppyhood.
“Pee-Wee and Maddy are just best buds,” says Brennan.
According to Brennan, the only member of the family who Pee-Wee doesn’t like is the cat.
“He is not a cat fan. The cat’s like 20 times the size of him and could put Pee-Wee in his place, but it doesn’t faze Pee-Wee at all.”
Getting around on just two legs also doesn’t faze the pup, who enjoys chasing his dog siblings around the house. He can even conquer the stairs on his own, although Brennan prefers to assist him to prevent him from hurting himself.
“There are days when I’ll just sit here and watch him and what he does, and it literally brings tears to my eyes; a lot of people feel sorry for him, and I kind of did in the beginning, and he has totally changed that for me,” she says. “The word ‘can’t’ just isn’t in his vocabulary.”
It’s that kind of adversity-conquering attitude that has Brennan already eyeing a career for Pee-Wee when he grows up. She says it’s pretty obvious that he would make a great therapy dog.
“I definitely want to take him to nursing homes and some of the schools around here to show them that even though you have a disability — no matter what it is — you can just push on from it.”
At this point, Pee-Wee is still a little too little to conquer the world as a therapy dog, weighing in at just three pounds. He’s also still missing an important piece of equipment — his own 3D-printed cart, which Brennan has ordered with the help of Turbo Roo, another Chihuahua born without front legs.
“I had to remeasure him because he grew a little bit, and now we’re just waiting for the cart.”
Brennan is hoping Pee-Wee will find the cart useful, but worries that her energetic puppy might prefer to get around on his own.
“Pee-Wee’s pretty much a free spirit. He likes to be naked — if I put a shirt on him, he won’t move, he freezes. He just be-bops all over the place, so I think the cart is going to be definitely a test of my patience and his,” she says.
Brennan says she’ll wait and see how Pee-Wee reacts to his new wheels, but she knows he’ll be just fine with or without them.
“With his courage and his love and his determination, nothing stops this boy. He can do anything a dog with four legs can do, he just may do it a little differently.”
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About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.