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A Three-Legged Therapy Dog Saves an Elderly Cockatiel

When a hawk attacked Petie the Cockatiel, a little rescue dog named Jeanie was there to save the day.

Heather Marcoux  |  May 19th 2015


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She’s a petite mixed-breed pooch who gets around on just three legs, but eight-year-old Jeanie isn’t afraid to stand up for her family. Despite her tripod status and slight stature, this little rescue dog rushed to her fellow pet’s defense when a wild hawk attacked the elderly cockatiel named Petie.

The Crochet family was on the upper floor of their home with Jeanie when suddenly the little dog leapt off the couch and bolted for the stairs. She was heading for the porch on the lower floor, where Petie the Cockatiel was taking in some sunshine and fresh air from inside his birdcage.

“We didn’t hear it; she heard it,” explains Jeanie’s human, Lydia Crochet of Louisiana.

Jeanie likes to keep an eye on Petie. (All images courtesy Jeanie the 3-Legged Pooch on Facebook)

Jeanie likes to keep an eye on Petie. (All images courtesy Jeanie the 3-Legged Pooch on Facebook)

According to Crochet, Jeanie (a Pomeranian/Poodle/Yorkie/Papillon mix) is usually carried down the stairs by her human family members to prevent her from putting too much force on her remaining front leg. Her other front leg was deformed and was removed when she was rescued from the streets at just five or six months old, shortly before being adopted.

“But when she heard the commotion that day, she didn’t wait for us,” says Crochet. “If you can imagine a three-legged dog running downstairs — she’s actually pretty quick.”

Jeanie’s mad dash to the door was very out of character, and piqued her human’s interest.

“When she wants to go outside, it’s never urgent. She’ll just kind of make her way to the door and wait for someone to let her out,” says Crochet.

Her human says Jeanie is loving, docile, and extremely in tune with the emotions of those around her.

Her human says Jeanie is loving, docile, and extremely in tune with the emotions of those around her.

“Most of the time we actually have to ask her if she wants to go out.”

This time was different, though. Jeanie was whining desperately to go outside, and as soon as the door was opened, the little dog rushed out, barking in a way her family had never heard before. Crochet ran out onto the porch after Jeanie and saw Petie’s still-closed cage swaying as an enormous hawk took off, soaring away from the porch.

“She barked at it, and it flew away. I think I was just in shock. I never dreamed that a hawk would come up under our porch like that. We have a very large porch — he had to come really deep inside the porch to get to Petie’s cage,” Crochet recalls.

“I didn’t see how the hawk was holding him, so I’m not sure if it was with its beak or its talons, but Petie was bleeding and feathers were everywhere. He had two puncture wounds.”

Petie needed medical attention after the attack.

Petie needed medical attention after the attack.

Crochet believes that Petie, who is normally pretty combative and has been known to nip a finger or two, likely tried his best to fend off the hawk on his own before Jeanie arrived to scare the much larger bird away.

“I think the hawk probably latched onto the cage and Petie decided he was going to be very brave about the situation and the hawk grabbed him. That’s speculation, but that has to be what happened.”

Unfortunately, poor Petie wasn’t feeling very brave or combative in the moments after the attack. With a gloved hand, Crochet’s husband picked the bleeding bird up — an action that would usually have gotten him a beak bite. Instead, Petie remained lifeless as his family rushed him off to the vet.

It was a scary time for Crochet, who had become fond of the bird she reluctantly took in in 2007, the same year she adopted Jeanie.

“Petie belonged to my husband’s mother, and she passed away in 1998. Then my husband’s sister took him in, and she passed away in 2007. At the wake, my brother-in-law gave the bird to our teenage daughter,” Crochet recalls.

“We weren’t on board with it, actually — we know how messy they are — and neither of us are really fans of seeing birds in cages; I would rather see them fly. But somebody had to take him, and he’s been with us for eight years now.”

Petie is spending more time indoors these days, but Jeanie is still checking up on him.

Petie is spending more time indoors these days, but Jeanie is still checking up on him.

In that time, Petie (who was born sometime in the early ’90s and is between 20 and 25 years old) has survived two hurricanes and learned to sing Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. He’s become a beloved part of the family, one who Crochet hopes to see live out his life in peace and comfort.

“It would be such a shame for this bird who lived so long and has been through so many owners to go out like that,” she says.

Thankfully, the vet was able to fix Petie up, and he quickly returned to his old self (just a little louder and messier than usual). For his own safety, Petie is no longer left on the porch unaccompanied, but his family still rolls his cage out when they can sit with him.

As for Jeanie, it turns out she was already a hero before she saved Petie, and was helping humans long before she scared off the hawk.

“She is a certified therapy dog,” explains Crochet. “We go to a family and youth counseling center where she visits with children before they are interviewed by police officers for sexual abuse cases.”

Jeanie also helps teach kids about kindness to animals.

Jeanie also helps teach kids about kindness to animals.

Jeanie also visits hospitals, libraries, and anywhere else she’s needed, proving that she can be a hero to people and pets, regardless of how many legs she has. You can follow her acts of kindness and feats of bravery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at dogsterheroes@dogster.com.

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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+.