Prosthetic leg gives injured dog new leash on life

  • May. 5, 2017 12:30 a.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — You can barely notice the Labrador retriever’s limp as she runs outside a veterinary clinic. But Maggie has a prosthetic leg, which was fitted after a crash last November that nearly killed her.

The dog’s doctor and surgeon, Jennifer Bibevski, said Tuesday she’s surprised how quickly Maggie recovered and got used to the new leg.

“Maggie took to it amazingly,” said Bibevski, of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists. “She just wants to get out and run. It’s much better than we anticipated and she’s the perfect candidate.”

The adjustment period was quick, Bibevski said, partly because Labradors have the right attitude, including a willingness to work and a desire to run and play.

While prosthetics for animals are becoming more common, they’re still rare, mostly because of the price. The custom-designed prosthetic, along with multiple surgeries, cost about $20,000 and took about five weeks to make.

Luckily for Maggie and her owner, John Brophy, she’s a popular dog in her Las Olas Isles neighborhood. Donations poured in from neighbors, friends, family and the hospital, which has a fund to help patients cover costs.

The big smile and wagging tail in the lobby of the veterinary clinic is a sharp change from the day the crash happened Nov. 22, 2016.

A friend was walking Maggie when the Labrador stepped into the road near a hedge, and a truck slammed into her.

Meanwhile, Brophy was in the backyard. His friend ran to tell him Maggie had been hit.

Brophy rushed to the street to find the truck driver holding his dog. Brophy wrapped Maggie’s leg in his shirt, picked her up and put her in his truck. He took off, not sure where he was driving.

He called a friend who told him to go to Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists. About halfway there, Maggie started to fade.

“She had gone into shock. Her tongue was just kind of hanging out, her eyes were rolling back,” Brophy said. “I definitely thought I was losing her.”

For the next two days, Brophy didn’t see Maggie. She remained hospitalized as doctors put her in a coma before surgery.

The dog would spend about three weeks in intensive care at the clinic. In the end, Bibevski had to amputate the leg.

It was a difficult time for Brophy, a retired Navy SEAL who grew close to Maggie during her three years as a service dog, helping Brophy’s mother who had dementia.

Maggie could survive without the prosthetic but over time, walking with three legs would likely cause hip problems for her, Bibevski said.

Aside from having to lose some weight, Maggie is ready for full activity and will see doctors only for periodic rechecks and any minor adjustments that may be needed.

Brophy said he’s thankful for everything the clinic has done for his dog.

“That’s what we’re here for,” Bibevski said about getting Maggie back up and running. “Anything that we can do to help the pets and their owners, is what makes our day successful.”

Just Posted

Fog advisory in place for Central Alberta

Near-zero visibility possible

Art Battle Red Deer to support Women of Excellence Awards

Art Battle Red Deer will be April 6 at the Radisson Hotel

Eliminating racial discrimination events in Red Deer this week

Two upcoming events aim to inspire change and eliminate racial discrimination in… Continue reading

Outfitter facing Wildlife Act charges

It is alleged archery-only hunting licences used out of season

Sunnybrook pies in demand

Just in time for Easter

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

Calgary remains interested in 2026 bid, but awaits word from feds, province

Calgary city council approved a slate of moves towards a possible bid… Continue reading

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to girl, 14, in Canada, police say

American authorities say a 14-year-old girl in Canada has been charged with… Continue reading

Comedian Mike MacDonald remembered for gut-busting mental health advocacy

If laughter is the best medicine, then standup veteran Mike MacDonald was… Continue reading

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

CHICAGO — The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will… Continue reading

No rest for the retired: Opioid crisis fills empty nests as grandparents step up

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — She is a Newfoundland woman who worked hard… Continue reading

Duclos defends gender-neutral language amid criticism from opposition

MONTREAL — Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended Service Canada’s decision to ask… Continue reading

Lawyer and negotiator: Thomas Molloy is new Saskatchewan lieutenant-governor

REGINA — Lawyer and negotiator Thomas Molloy has been sworn in as… Continue reading

Austin bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month