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.
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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