Nothing will stop this little therapy dog from helping people in need. Not even a lack of front legs.
Meet Nubby. The appropriately named 7-year-old long-haired chihuahua was born with a birth defect: he has no front legs. Found abandoned in a parking lot in California, his first owners thought that a defective puppy just wasn’t worth keeping no matter how cheerful or full of zest he was.
Luckily for Nubby, he was found by a group of animal lovers and put up for adoption. He was then spotted by Deidre Grafel who immediately fell in love with Nubby’s adorable, tubular body and inexhaustible pep. She adopted him on the spot.
After getting Nubby cleaned up, he turned into quite the house pet. He loves being dressed up by his human and doesn’t mind the inevitable handling due to his deformity--in fact, he loves it.
Nubby’s lack of legs doesn’t mean he has much trouble getting around. First, he has a set of wheels that he can strap on whenever he wants to, achieving speeds that were comparable of any four-legged chihuahua. But even without the wheels, Nubby can still get around on his back feet with only a small decrease in overall velocity.
It’s Nubby’s unconquerable spirit--and his love of snuggles--that also makes him the perfect therapy dog.
As one of 13 therapy dogs at Banner Children's at Cardon Children's Medical Center, Nubby’s job is to help kids take their minds off their predicament, whether that means a scary surgery or just the malaise of being in a hospital. He seems to have a knack for cheering up kids with his constant gyrations and how he doesn't seem to let a tiny thing like having no forelegs stop him from doing anything he wants.
Hospital officials definitely notice the difference when Nubby is around. "The teams will visit our waiting rooms and surgery, and there's a lot of anxiety and stress that's understandable, and having that dog, they'll pet them,” said hospital spokesperson Carly Ofsthun. “You just see kind of that sense that people have exhaled, and they'll just have this moment where they're not thinking about their loved one or themselves or what they're going through."
The hope is that Nubby will let kids know that even if things look bad, they don’t actually have to be bad, and nothing can stop you so long as you keep a positive attitude.