Phoenix pup with four prosthetic legs helps inspire others

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(Source: Chi Chi's GoFundMe page) (Source: Chi Chi's GoFundMe page)

A Valley pup who lost her legs helps comfort patients just like her. But now "Chi Chi" needs a little help herself to continue her mission. 

The golden retriever was found in a trash bag in South Korea with a bad infection in her paws. Her adoptive family believes she may have been part of the underground dog-meat market.

The dog was saved but had all four legs amputated. Now she needs her prostheses replaced.

"She just really emits love," said Chi Chi's owner Elizabeth Howell.

At 3 years old, Chi Chi is not much taller than her beagle brothers. That's because she gets around on custom-made prosthetic legs. 

"It's hard to have a bad day around her," said Howell. 

Since coming to Phoenix from South Korea, Chi Chi's become a social media sensation with 14,000 followers on Instagram, and twice that on her Facebook page.

She received her therapy dog certification just one month ago, allowing her to visit the VA hospital and rehab facilities. "One woman we met had recently had her leg amputated and she said 'Well if she can do it with four, I can do it with one,'" said Howell.

But pain from her legs can slow her down. 

"Sometimes we have to cancel a therapy dog visit if she has sores and needs to rest," said Howell.  

Chi Chi's been through several different types of prostheses, now she needs a new set to make her more comfortable.

The Howell family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the golden retriever's new legs. They hope to fly in a specialist to make them for her. 

"Her first set was several thousand dollars," said Howell. 

The biggest decision to now, is picking out the color. 

"I think they should stay purple," said 14-year-old Megan Howell. "We just picked it because it looks nice, but we found out after she got lupus that purple is the lupus awareness color."

Her family says even against those odds, Chi Chi still has a lot more love to give. 

"She teaches me a lot of things: never give up, just be happy all the time," said Megan. 

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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