BAKERSFIELD - It's said that a cat has nine lives. Thanks to a good samaritan and the Bakersfield S.P.C.A., a local puppy has at least two.
His name is Thumper. Born with a leg deformity, his breeder was going to kill him. But, that's when Thumper got a second chance, and on Friday, a corrective surgery.
Normally the S.P.C.A. wouldn't take in a dog that needs surgery since it doesn't have a vet or money for it. But, when they heard Thumper's story and saw how cute he is, they couldn't say no.
With a wrinkly, little baby Sharpei face, Thumper seems the picture of puppy perfection. But when he stands up, he reveals a disfigured front left paw and how he got his name.
"Thumper was the last of a litter of four from a backyard breeder," said Chuck Nordstrom of the Bakersfield S.P.C.A.
That breeder didn't think anyone would pay for a dog that walks on the wrong part of his leg, so he told his neighbor he was going to get rid of it.
"The man said, basically, he was going to knock him in the head and that would have been a very inhumane death. And, that's why the man took the dog to see what he could do to help the dog," said Nordstrom.
The man took Thumper to the S.P.C.A. and showed them the deformation and the callous already starting to form where the leg bends, hoping for help.
"With that story and a look at that little, wrinkled face being a little Sharpei mix, we took him in," said Nordstrom.
The S.P.C.A. had Thumper checked out at Stiern Veterinary Hospital.
"The biggest concern for me was the end of the bone getting worn and damaged. He'll be able to walk better without the leg than he can with the leg and so a longer life expectancy based on that," said Dr. Rose Rakow.
After a last run and romp in the yard with all four legs, it was time to prep for the amputation. A quick shot of anesthetic made Thumper's eyes and body drop. The veterinarians monitored Thumper's heart rate. They then shaved him from the shoulder down. The leg that held him back and nearly got him killed, will no longer be an issue, leaving only opportunity.
"Most three-legged dogs do amazingly well. I'm always impressed with how well they do and he'll do great," said Dr. Rakow.
Thumper's surgery went well. But, amputation surgeries can cost $750 or more. So, the S.P.C.A. is collecting money for "The Thumper Fund" if you'd like to help.
Once Thumper is healed, he will be up for adoption, likely in a couple of weeks.