Lucky Puppy In Line For Prosthetics - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/11/03 - Tyler

Lucky Puppy In Line For Prosthetics

Five-year old LaBella has had a rough few months. The mixed breed Chow came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, followed by Lupus, that led to his front feet being amputated.

Veterinarian Gary Spence says, "In twenty years of practice, I've never had one that has gotten this sick and come back this far."

Now, a local prosthetics company may be able to help LaBella run again.

Robert Neal of Neal's Prosthetics took up the challenge. "We can't do anything that's going to make the dog worse off," he says. "The only thing we can do is make him more mobile and able to get around a lot better."

Robert has never tried anything like this before. His company designs prosthetics for people, not animals. Still, his heart led him to give it a try.

"Whenever I look at my dog," Neal says, "I think what if it was in the shape that this one was. Wouldn't I want to try and get something done about it?"

With LaBella's family unable to pay, Neal and Dr. Spence are working for free for their furry friend.

"That's why I'm here on a Saturday," Neal says. "I can't afford to be here during the week because of my patient load, so that's why I'm here on my own free time."

For everybody involved, the payoff will come when this patient walks home. "It'll be so rewarding to watch him walk out the front door," Dr. Spence says, "On something other than metal splints taped to his legs."

So everybody's favorite patient may soon be playing again.

Reid Kerr reporting.

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