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Two years ago, the family decided that it was time to get their first dog: the girls were ten years old, ready to help with the responsibility of a family pet.
The girls wanted to get a pug puppy, but their Mum, Sylvaine, had heard that pugs had a higher number of health issues than a cross-bred dog. As well as this, she knew that Ireland’s animal rescue groups were overflowing with abandoned dogs, so she felt that they had a responsibility to offer a home to an unwanted animal if possible. They contacted Dogs Trust, and discovered that there was a wide range of dogs looking for homes. They decided to make a day out of visiting the Dogs Trust Centre in Finglas, meeting some of the dogs in person. Sylvaine remembers that Sunday well: it was Mothers’ Day.
When they arrived at Dogs Trust, the first dog they saw was a good-looking Collie, but he showed no interest in the two girls, so they knew that he was not the dog they were looking for. The Dogs Trust team then took them through to the Puppy Unit, at the back of the main centre, where they met some of the pups that were available for rehoming. They saw a few puppies, and they were all adorable, but as soon as they laid their eyes on Lola, they knew she was the one. She liked the girls from the start, wanting to play with them immediately, and they fell in love with her.
Lola only had three-and-a-half legs, which is an unusual handicap. Normally when a vet amputates a dog’s leg, the limb is removed high up. This prevents the dog from trying to use the stump for weight bearing: in a large animal, this can cause problem, with pressure sores on the end of the shortened leg. Nobody knows exactly what happened to Lola: her foot was missing when she was found as an abandoned puppy with her mother and litter mates. She may have been born without a right back foot, or it may have been severed in an accident when she was very young. At first, the Dogs Trust team thought that it might make her more difficult to rehome, but it didn’t worry Anna and Kate at all. She may only have three and a half legs, but she has all of the energy, enthusiasm and friendliness of a four legged dog.
The family weren’t able to take Lola home with them that day. First, a home visit had to be done: someone from Dogs Trust visited to make sure that their home and garden were suitable for a terrier like Lola. Then the Doyle family had to go to a pre-adoption course run by Dogs Trust on a Sunday, to learn about the pros and cons of owning a dog. Finally, they were ready to take Lola home: the girls will never forget the day they picked her up from the rescue centre.
Lola cried a little for the first two nights in her new home, but she settled in well after that. She has never been any problems with her missing foot, because her small size means that there isn’t too much pressure on the end of the limb compared to a bigger animal. Sometimes if there is an uneven surface underfoot, such as a beach or a rocky hillside, she ends up grazing the skin where it comes into contact with the ground. The famiy need to bathe the sore area for a few days to keep it clean, but she’s always made a quick recovery.
The family would strongly recommend a rescue dog to anyone: Lola is an example of how well it can work out, even with an issue like a missing foot.