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Don’t Shop…Adopt!

It’s easy to think of a reason to get a new puppy or kitty—the sweet puppy breath, fluffy coats and a playful spirit. But, there are a number of reasons to rescue from a shelter, rather than buying from a breeder. Here are five practical reasons to adopt.

Saving a life. Many animals in shelters are at risk of being put down after they’ve been given up or abandoned. Adopting them gives them a chance at a new life.

Put an end to pet overpopulation.
Each year, 8 to 12 million dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.

Stop cruelty and mass breeding. Countrywide, thousands of commercial pet-breeding facilities and backyard breeders produce millions of animals for sale in pet stores and Internet postings. Often known as puppy and kitten mills, these facilities repeatedly impregnate female dogs that spend their entire lives in cages without human companionship.

Adopt an adult animal.
Adult pets are often house-trained and react to commands like “sit” and “stay.”

Pay less.
Low adoption fees (which cover a portion of a shelter’s costs) are far less than the cost of purebred puppies or kittens sold for profit.

Lucky in Love

How is a Santa Rosa-based business, Compassion without Borders, and a three-legged dog all connected? Not just by prosthetics, but by a little luck and a lot of love.
Certified prosthetist and orthotist, Drew Hittenberger, was contacted by Christie Camblor, director of Compassion Without Boarders, a nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from parts of California and Mexico. She asked Hittenberger if he would make a prosthetic leg for a rescue dog, which was scheduled to be put down due to a missing limb. Hittenberger had made a limb for a dog four years earlier when its leg was bitten off by another dog. 

With the dog’s life on the line, Hittenberger didn’t hesitate to help, and began making the prosthetic for the rescue pup. Hittenberger himself had been diagnosed with stage-four cancer in June 2017, and spent five months undergoing chemotherapy. It had spread, and he was given only one year to live if not treated. Hittenberger thanked his doctor when diagnosed because it gave him some wonderful gifts, a new meaning of time, money, work, friendship, family, compassion and love. “Life is short and it is love and compassion that binds us,” says Hittenberger. With a shift in priorities, the thought of adopting a canine crossed his mind, and he realized that the gift of unconditional love was sitting right in front of him, in the form of a three legged, tail-wagging dog.

Hittenberger adopted him, and named him Lucky. “He’s lucky—lucky to live through his accident, lucky to not be put down, lucky to be rescued, lucky to find a good home, lucky to get a prosthesis, lucky to run again, and lucky to help others. Did I mention I’m lucky, too? We’re both lucky,” he says.

Now, Lucky goes to work with Hittenberger, where he fits patients for prosthetics. Lucky serves as the official three-legged tail-wagging greeter, Hittenberger says. Patients can relate to Lucky’s condition, and seeing how well he gets around, gives them hope. “They see that being an amputee doesn’t have to be a limiting part of life.”

Lucky now has several prosthetics of his own, ranging from simple to complicated. Hittenberger originally made him a temporary prosthesis out of neoprene and PVC pipe to see if he would accept it and is now working a high-tech silicone and carbon prosthesis. He uses them for long walks and running. Even with only three legs, Hittenberger admits it’s difficult to keep up with Lucky, even on his bike. Despite his visual scars, there is nothing keeping this dog down.



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