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2012-03-21 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

A star is born. Rather than From Here to Eternity, the movie marquee would read Timothy: From Amputee to Ambassadog. One month and two days after having his leg amputated, Timothy, a lovable Lhasa mix, made his debut representing Last Hope Animal Rescue. On March 9, Timothy visited Syosset High School during “Volunteer

Day” as a three-legged good will ambassador.

For the second year in a row, the Awareness Club at Syosset High invited Last Hope to participate in the event held in the school’s lobby which is designed to alert students and staff about nearby volunteer opportunities. Ronald MacDonald House, Hospice Network, Interfaith Nutrition Network, Syosset Fire Department plus one other animal welfare association, Grateful Greyhounds, were among the other groups present. Each organization set up an information table and spoke to those interested.


Sue and Timothy at Volunteer Day. Sue and Timothy at Volunteer Day. From the moment Timothy arrived in his pink pup stroller, the happy-go-lucky Lhasa worked the crowd like a pooch politician. He had an instant fan club while posing for pictures, pets and belly rubs. Students, teachers and volunteers from the other service organizations were bedazzled by our boy. Timmy even made friends with “Celeste,” a grand dame from Grateful Greyhounds.

His missing leg is more apparent immediately after surgery because of the shaved site and fresh stitch scars. Timothy got his hair done for the occasion. His fur is starting to grow back, so the groomer was able to give him a slight “combover.” Soon his coat will cover the area, making his missing limb barely noticeable.

Timothy has been mentioned in two previous “Pets” columns (12/29/11 and 2/2/12) when the surgical plan was still in the thinking stages. In case you missed these, here’s Timothy’s story:

In December, Timothy surfaced as a stray at Babylon Town Shelter. Slightly over a year old, he had multiple injuries, most likely from being hit by a car some time ago. He was found on Sunrise Highway again. Why was he running loose once more? No one claimed him. We named him “Timothy” for “Tiny Tim” of Dickens fame because it was just before Christmas.

Supposedly a good samaritan found Timothy in Lindenhurst on Sunrise and took him to the emergency hospital. Although his left hind leg was rotated completely around, Timothy played hard and fast. He used his leg like a crutch. The skin was scraped off his foot which ulcerated, remaining vulnerable to infections. He had no feeling in his paw.

The town shelter sent him to another emergency hospital where it was determined he had leg and pelvis fractures that healed by themselves in a crooked way. His muscles had atrophied, and the twisted leg had neurological damage. Timmy’s foot was bandaged and he wore a special bootie when outdoors. He kicked them off and continued to play. This wouldn’t be a long-term fix.

Orthopedic repair would require several surgeries with no guarantee of success, possibly a fused ankle. There was a chance that after physical therapy, he would still have to wear a brace for the rest of his life. All these operations would be very expensive and require long recoveries, beyond the realm of a municipal shelter, and questionable for a private rescue which must justify spending thousands of donation dollars for iffy, nonlife saving surgery on one animal. Many dogs and cats could be helped with the funds used trying to rebuild “Tiny Tim’s” leg. Even an owner would need to weigh whether the uncertainities were worth putting a dog through so much.

Another option was to amputate the leg. Actually I was the hold-up, which in retrospect is absurd because my 14-year-old cat had his hind leg amputated as a kitten. He still zooms. I was worried that a tripod Timothy would have mobility problems as he ages because of his short legs and elongated back. Lhasas aren’t square like a cat. My vet assured me that he would be fine, and I knew Timothy would be if he had the operation.

Timothy moved from Babylon to Last Hope and was scooped up awaiting surgery by Sue Butz as his loving foster Mom, now forever Mom. Sue is a recently retired music teacher who has embraced volunteering for Last Hope as her “second” career. In the fall she fostered a pregnant Kentucky Beagle until the dog weaned her seven puppies in Sue’s home. This experience didn’t deter her from taking Timothy despite caring for her own older diabetic dogs. Timmy became the comic relief, scampering around as he continued to kick off his special bootie.

It seems the decision to amputate was the right one. The damaged leg was cramping Timothy’s style. A day after leaving the hospital, Timothy began running through the doggy door. One month later, he began making public appearances. There’s just no stopping “Tiny Tim” now.

Available at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Shorty” #94230 has spent much of her puppyhood at the shelter. This Shepherd/Pit mix came into Babylon in July. She loves to run around the yard with toys. “Shirley” #2-62 is one of the adult cats in the lobby that would like to find a home before the babes of kitten season upstage them.

Female: “Delilah” American Bulldog, and fixture in the office; “Samantha” adorable PBGV type needs a home without cats or small kids; “Lucy” Lab mix, long time shelter resident.

Male: “Tobey” tan Lab/Shiba pup; “Freddy” #2-19 longhaired cat in the lobby.

** Almost Home Chinese Auction….huge prize list- Sat. March 24 at Elks Lodge, Smithtown.

Call 631-627-3665.

** Last Hope Supermarket Bingo-Sat. April 14- Levittown Hall. Call 516-935-0503.

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