Lucky the puppy has a very special connection with the youngest member of her new family in Chilliwack.
The tiny, fluffy chihuahua-cross puppy was born with a limb difference, just like two-year-old Ivy McLeod.
Ivy is a congenital bilateral amputee. Both her arms were not formed correctly while in the womb. There’s no official name for it, so it’s typically known as a “limb difference” because her limbs are different than what most people have.
Lucky was also born with a limb difference. Her right front leg is shorter than her left.
It was April 6 when mom Vanessa McLeod put the word out on social media that she and her family were looking for a puppy with a limb difference.
“I remember thinking… ‘I don’t know how we’re going to find this puppy but I’m just going to put it out in the universe that we’re looking,’” Vanessa recalled.
A friend shared Vanessa’s Facebook post and it was soon after that another person (the one who bred Lucky) saw it.
Turns out Lucky was born that very same day (April 6), just six minutes away from the McLeods.
“If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.”
They met Lucky when she was just one and a half weeks old and instantly fell in love. It was June 1 when they got to bring home the tiny 1.8-pound puppy and like a typical puppy, Lucky zips around the house at rocket speeds.
“Just like Ivy, whatever (Lucky) wants to do and whatever she sets her mind to, she will do it. She’ll just do it in her own way,” Vanessa said.
Lucky was checked out by a veterinarian who said there’s no concern about her limb at this point and that she’s healthy. In the future, if they notice her limb starts to cause her pain, the McLeods will look into a prosthetic for her, but for now, Lucky is getting around quite well.
Sometimes she uses her shorter leg for balance, sometimes she bears weight on it, other times she tucks it under and does a three-legged hop.
Vanessa describes Lucky’s run as a “little bunny hop.”
Ivy shares a room with her five-year-old sister Elena and at nighttime, Lucky sleeps in their room. They’ve pushed the two beds together and the tiny pup fits right in the middle.
She was named after the Lucky Fin Project - a non-profit organization that provides resources and support to families of kids or adults with limb differences. The McLeods have connected with many people thanks to the organization.
“I just wanted to honour what our journey has been and honour what that organization has meant to us.”
Vanessa wanted a dog with a limb difference for a specific reason. As Ivy grows up, questions will likely arise about her own arms. Vanessa wanted Ivy to have a special bond with Lucky for those moments.
Since getting Lucky, Vanessa has already had an encounter with a young girl who commented on Ivy’s arms. Lucky was with them at the time and Vanessa used their new puppy as an opportunity to show and teach the girl that people and animals can be born differently than others.
She also used the popular Disney character Nemo (a clown fish) as an example that day.
“It was a nice teaching moment because I held up Lucky and she was petting Lucky,” Vanessa recalled. “I said ‘Have you heard of Nemo? Nemo has a lucky fin. Our puppy also has a lucky fin, just like Ivy here – she has two lucky fins.’
“It’s a neat little way to teach kids about differences and that being different is OK and having a difference is OK.”
And even though back at home, the McLeods two cats aren’t quite sure what to think of the new addition, they are tolerating Lucky. But the important thing is both Ivy and Elena absolutely adore their new puppy.
Lucky loves to play, snuggle, run around, and is the perfect size for the girls, Vanessa said.
“She’s everything I could have hoped for in a puppy and the perfect little addition for our family.”