When a neighbor saw the puppy chewing on his shoes, he chased the dog away and confronted the owner. The owner apologized for the 9-month-old puppy's behavior and offered to pay for the damage. Instead of taking payment, the neighbor took a large sword and hacked off the puppy's front legs.
The owner rushed the puppy, named Cola, to a veterinary clinic in Bangkok, Thailand, but she didn't think the puppy would survive. Cola had lost a lot of blood, and infection had set in.
The clinic did what it could for Cola, but wasn't equipped to fully treat his injuries. When animal lovers learned about Cola, they alerted Soi Dog Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats in Thailand. Soi Dog offered to cover the costs to send Cola to iVet, a specialist clinic in Bangkok.
Cola managed to recover, but his owner was terrified to take him back home. The neighbor would serve a month in jail for his crime under Thailand's newly enacted Animal Welfare Act, but the owner worried Cola would be poisoned or hurt again following the ordeal. When Soi Dog offered to take Cola into its care, the owner was relieved and grateful.
Cola spent a couple months recovering at iVet. The veterinary staff fitted Cola with a wheelchair contraption so he could get around, but he quickly learned how to hop on his back legs like a kangaroo. "Cola is very clever and adapted rapidly," John Dalley, cofounder of Soi Dog, tells The Dodo.
Cola might have found a way to get around, but he still faced incredible mobility issues. So Dr. Aom at iVet used her engineering expertise to create prosthetics for Cola.
On the day Cola got fitted with his prosthetics, Gill Dalley, the other cofounder of Soi Dog and John's wife, visited Cola for the first time. Gill herself had lost both her legs after contracting septicemia, a serious blood poisoning condition, when she was trying to rescue a stray dog in 2004.
The connection between Cola and Gill was instant. "A very special bond began to develop," says John. "Gill and Cola quickly became best friends - they definitely have a unique bond of love and empathy."
Gill and Cola's love for each other was so strong that Gill decided to adopt Cola. Gill and John arranged for Cola to fly to the Thai island of Phuket so he could live with them. With his new prosthetics, Cola can now enjoy walks with his new family, but John explains that they still have to be careful. "We have to do this slowly as his stumps can soon develop sores," says John. "Gill fully understands this. When she lost her own legs, it took her time before she could wear her prosthetics all day."
Cola is also free to chew whatever he wants, and as much as he wants. Gill and John certainly prefer for him to chew on his dog toys, but they don't get angry when he chews on his prosthetic straps ... which John says he often does!
"It's wonderful to see Cola so happy," says John. "And it's amazing that his trust in humans was quickly restored."