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Four legs good, three legs better

A tragic encounter with a truck nearly ended her life, but instead, writes MARK PACEY of the Wairarapa Archive, the love of a community ensured that Skippy the puppy got a third chance at a happily ever after.

Skippy enjoyed her early puppy years, running about her yard, chasing the neighbourhood cats, and getting into mischief. That all changed one dark day when she ventured a little too far down her drive onto the road. A truck was driving by, and little Skippy wasn’t fast enough to avoid it and was hit.

Her owner saw her limping along and, realising she was badly hurt, took her to the vet. One of Skippy’s front legs was very badly damaged and broken in several places. After trying for weeks, the vets had to admit they had failed. Skippy was not going to get any better and would probably have to be put down.

But after three weeks the vets had come to love this little adventurer. Just eight months old, she had not had much of a life and should still have had many more years and many more adventures ahead of her. If she could be saved, then she would be saved – and what’s more, the vets would do it all for free. Surely there was someone out there that would take in this poor crippled puppy?

A young Masterton businesswoman happened to meet young Skippy and fell in love with her. She would gladly take her in and give her a new home, but first they had to decide what to do about poor Skippy’s leg.

After trying every available option, it was determined that Skippy’s leg was too badly damaged to be saved. Skippy would join the ranks of camera supports and alien war machines and live her life on three legs.

After healing up from her operation, Skippy got a new lease of life. She showed the other dogs that even though she was missing a leg, she could still run about, chase cats, and get into mischief with the best of them. Life was looking up; Skippy had a new family and was full of life once again.

But then news came that would be hard to take for both Skippy and her new family. Skippy’s mistress had been offered a new job. A great opportunity for her, but there was a catch. The place she was moving to had an unfortunate policy: no dogs allowed.

Skippy was now without a home again and was facing a bleak future. If a new home could not be found for her, she would be making a premature trip to doggy heaven.

Seeing a pure soul and a life that was well worth saving, the Wairarapa Times-Age agreed to help, and the team at the paper invited young Skippy to come and spend the day with them. She learned all about newspapers and even gave typing a go, reportedly doing very well with just one paw. The Times-Age let the local community know that here was a puppy bursting with life who needed a new home, and if anyone would like to adopt her, they should get in touch.

The question of whether Skippy be adopted and get to live out her days hopping around on her three legs was soon answered.

As it turned out, there were several people who thought they would like to have this young pup in their families – nearly 20, in fact – so the Times-Age had a choice to make. Which family would be the ones to take on this furry little survivor?

In the end, it was the Garbutt family that welcomed Skippy into their fold. Bob Garbutt was a contractor and now had a new and eager young apprentice who accompanied him on jobs. Skippy had a new life and even a new name. From then on she was Speed, having shown that, despite her disability, she was still full of life and eager to continue her adventures with her new family.

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