Cole was literally at death’s door when Rescue Warriors spotted him. The six-week-old Pit Bull with nubs for front legs was entering the euthanasia room at Chicago Animal Care & Control. He had been left at the shelter and declared unadoptable because of his birth defect. Kimmy Chevarria, a member of the group, stopped the employee carrying him and saved his life.
Rescue Warriors posted a plea online for a foster family to care for Cole while open wounds on his nubs and an infected back paw healed. Kimberly Boshold, who had adopted a Shepherd–Corgi puppy with parvo and distemper from the group six months before, volunteered.
“I just saw his picture and thought, ‘How could I not?'” she recalls.
It didn’t take long for Boshold to realize Cole would become a permanent member of the family, which also includes Kevin Koster and Keke, the pup who had since recovered.
“I met him and just fell in love,” she says.
Caring for Cole was not so different than raising a puppy with all four legs.
“He was so tiny,” Boshold recalls. “He would get around by himself, scooting and wiggling and hopping. Cole was figuring out how to be, just like any other puppy.”
To help Cole more easily navigate his world, she took him to water, massage, and chiropractic therapy sessions to strengthen and align his back legs, core, and shoulders.
He now weighs 65 pounds, much of it muscle, and recently celebrated his first birth and gotcha days; he never lets his differently abled body slow him down.
“Cole is crazy, and he is lazy,” Boshold says. “He sleeps a lot because he likes to relax, but when he starts to play and gets going, it’s hilarious. We place beds and blankets around the house and he bunny hops to each one.”
Cole also recently got a custom, all-terrain wheelchair from Eddie’s Wheels. He hasn’t exactly embraced the new wheels, though.
“He kind of hates them,” Boshold says. “His massage therapist explained that dogs who lose limbs after having four tend to excel when adapting to wheelchairs, but since he’s never had front legs, Cole doesn’t know what it would be like. When we put him in it, he just looks at us like, ‘What do you want me to do?'”
While the wheelchair allows for better body alignment, Boshold says that his tensing up while in it reduces the benefits. The couple puts him in the chair for five to ten minutes a day with the hope of helping him adapt, but they are not pushing him any further.
“He loves scooting and bunny hopping wherever he wants to go,” she says. “If he wants to run, Kevin lifts him up by his harness and they run.”
Like many pet parents of Pit Bulls and differently abled dogs, Boshold uses Facebook to share Cole’s story and to support like-minded organizations. Cole and his family have become friends with Fifty the Two-Legged Pit Bull and his family, often attending fundraisers together for animal welfare organizations, including Fifty’s own Six Legs Foundation, which provides financial assistance to dog owners in need.
Cole and Keke also recently became spokesdogs for Paw Pack. Customers who use the KEKECOLE code at checkout get 20 percent off their subscription, with a portion of the money going to the Six Legs Foundation.
To see more adorable photos of Cole as well as videos and to follow his adventures, like his Facebook page.
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