Phoenix residents Richard and Elizabeth Howell and their 12 year-old daughter, Megan have a new addition to their family this week in Chi Chi, a golden retriever mix.
But Chi Chi isn’t just your average two-year old dog – she comes from South Korea with four prosthetic legs.
Having been rescued from a Korean meat market with her legs bound with wire, Chi Chi spent two months in a veterinary clinic in Seoul learning how to live with prosthetic paws.
“She can run. She can walk,” Megan Howell said. “She can pretty much do anything a real dog can do except go up the stairs.”
Chi Chi, which means “loving” in Korean, was likely intended to be slaughtered for food as dogs are a Korean delicacy.
Her rescuers whisked the dog away to the veterinary clinic where it was determined that for any chance of survival, all four legs would need to be amputated.
Afterward, the dog was fitted with prosthetics.
Chi Chi’s apparent triumph over adversity, however, could make her an ideal therapy dog.
“Maybe she can encourage people who have to have amputations themselves like soldiers and kids,” Richard Howell said. “We want to use her story to make the lives of humans better. I think if we do that, we’re doing something positive in the world.”