Share on Facebook

Watch: 5 Bionic Dogs Get a New Leash on Life

After suffering cruelty and loss, these canines got good care and new homes.


Fabio, a fluffy white Maltese, was mutilated by his owners for trying to climb a chain-link fence; they cut off his back legs just above the paw joint to keep him in the yard of their home in Miami, Florida. After his rescue, Fabio was flown to New Orleans to be fitted with prosthetic legs by Dr. Allison Barca—yes, Barca—who already had helped fit a Shetland pony with a prosthetic leg after Hurricane Katrina.


This mixed breed was found as a puppy, frozen into a puddle in a foreclosed Nebraska home with his littermates and dead mother nearby. Because of frostbite his paws and part of his tail had to be amputated, but happily, Christine Pace, a veterinary assistant in Colorado Springs, heard Naki’o’s story and adopted him. As he grew, though, it became clear that the dog’s stumps could not support his weight. Fortunately, a company that provides artificial limbs for animals made prostheses for all of Naki’o’s legs—for free.

Pay de Limon

A Belgian shepherd mix, this dog was reportedly tortured by a Mexican drug gang for practice. When he was found, he was missing his front paws and had been left in a pile of garbage to die. A passerby heard his cries, and he was taken to a local sanctuary for abused animals called Milagros Caninos. There, the staff named the dog Pay de Limon (which means lemon pie), nursed him back to health, and raised more than $6,000 to pay for two front-leg prosthetic limbs.

Little Debbie

The five-month-old pit bull puppy was found abandoned, starving, and with a severed paw in Plantation, Florida. She was rescued and outfitted with a plastic and carbon-fiber limb, which will need to be changed several times as she grows. Now a year old, the bionic dog has a media favorite, with TV appearances and a new owner selected from a pool of applicants.

Roo and Penny

Roo, the toy, deer-faced Chihuahua, was found abandoned in a ditch and now uses a wheelchair. His best friend is a silkie chicken named Penny, who was saved from medical testing. The two animals go to work every day with a veterinary assistant, and cohabit happily in her home in Duluth, Georgia, where Roo sleeps on top of Penny as if she were a feather-bed mattress. Close friends, the bionic dog often runs over his friend with his wheelchair, but ultimately, the animals have bonded completely.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest