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Miami-Dade Animal Services is raising money so Roo can receive continued physical therapy and a new cart.

By Maddie Topliff
March 30, 2021
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Miami-Dade Animal Services takes in an average of 30,000 dogs and cats every year. Some are ready to be adopted right away, but others, like Roo the two-legged chihuahua, require medical attention before they can meet their forever family.

Roo came to Miami-Dade Animal Services after being discovered alone in a local park. The shelter staff has been tending to Roo ever since his arrival. In fact, he's currently being fostered by one of the shelter's doctors: Maria Serrano, DVM.

"He's perfect; he is normal like any other dog," Serrano told NBC 6 South Florida.

Serrano is currently in the process of organizing funds and materials to pay for his physical therapy and a permanent cart. Without front legs, he needs padding on his chest. Right now, Roo uses a 3D-printed cart, a temporary solution.

Dogs like Roo, who was named that because he hops around like a kangaroo, can be born without limbs for a number of reasons. Dyschondroplasia, for example, is a hereditary disorder found in dogs that can cause limbs to be underdeveloped. Basset hounds, dachshunds, and Pekingnese — breeds with short legs and long bodies — are affected by this disorder on a breed-wide scale.

Missing limbs can also be caused by accidental consumption of toxic plants or chemicals by the mother prior to the birth of her puppies. Physical trauma to the mother can also cause pups to be born without limbs.

Luckily, there are many physical therapy and mobility improvement options available that can help dogs like Roo have a happy life. Giving a special-needs pet the attention and care they need can be incredibly rewarding. 

While pet parents should always defer to their veterinarian first, there are some physical therapy strategies that can be implemented right at home, including massage, passive range of motion, and heads up. 

Physical therapy expenses can add up, though. That's why Miami-Dade Animal Services is currently accepting donations on Roo's behalf to cover the $6,000 cost of continued physical therapy, fittings, and new doggie carts.

"Every donation will make a life-changing difference for Roo and open his world to the love, fun, and normalcy he deserves so he can live his best life," the department wrote on Instagram.

To donate to Roo's care, head to the shelter's website and type "Roo" into the "to be used for" box. Want to take your support to the next level? Investigate how you can give to local shelters in your community. There's a Roo around every corner who could use your help!