Meet Chi Chi, a three-year old energetic and loving golden retriever. Like many dogs, she likes squeaky toys, carrots and cuddles with her humans. However, this beautiful pup is no ordinary one. Chi Chi is a quadruple amputee who walks on four custom prosthetic legs. And the best part is that she wears Knit-Rite’s prosthetic Soft-Socks®.
Chi Chi’s story is tragic, but needs to be heard. She was left in a trash bag outside a South Korean dog meat market in early 2016. Her legs had been bound with wire, leaving bones and tissue exposed. The rescue group that found her was going to euthanize her, but had second thoughts after rescuers saw her wagging tail and positive spirit. They decided to amputate all of her legs. Then they gave her the name Chi Chi, after a Christian motivational speaker from Australia, Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs.
According to Humane Society International, an estimated 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered for consumption each year in South Korea. It is the only country worldwide that commercially raises dogs on farms for slaughter.
Fortunately, Chi Chi was lucky enough to find a home soon after she was rescued. After seeing one video of her, Elizabeth and Richard Howell, veteran dog foster parents, couldn’t stop thinking about her. It wasn’t long at all before they flew her 6,000 miles to Arizona, where they welcomed her into their home. Six months later, Chi Chi was fitted with custom prosthetics that allowed her to walk and run.
After a short but traumatic lifetime of abuse, Chi Chi was cautious to interact at first, Howell said. But that changed in a matter of months. Now, the dog freely trusts humans without any fear or risk to her well-being.
Chi Chi, who Howell says is a “blessing every day in our lives,” is also a therapy dog who now regularly visits a veteran’s center, an assisted-living facility and special-needs students at an elementary school. What a remarkable transformation for a dog who was left in a trash bag outside a meat market.
I love Chi Chi’s story. It reminds me that dogs aren’t judging. They love everyone the same. When I read Chi Chi’s story, I did something that I am against – I felt bad for her. I never do this because ultimately I don’t like when others feel bad for me. I started to think that I bet Chi Chi doesn’t feel bad for herself and probably wouldn’t for me either. She’d probably greet me with a sniff and a big slobbery lick on my face, just like anyone else. This beautiful dog had no value before and now she is invaluable to so many others. I think if Chi Chi can do it, anyone can!
If you would like to hear more on Chi Chi’s journey, follow her on FB or on Instagram @chichirescuedog.
**All photos courtesy of Elizabeth Howell