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DENVER, Colo. – It’s still a dog’s life for a quadruple amputee from Loveland, Colorado. Brutus the Rottweiler is only the second dog ever known to have four prosthetic limbs.
He started walking with them in September 2014, when he was outfitted with the rear prosthetics. The front devices came six to eight weeks later.
It hasn’t always been an easy road.
Foster mom Laura Aquilina takes Brutus for a walk around the block, which ordinarily wouldn’t sound like a challenge.
“He just has these little peg legs to get around on and he does a pretty good job inside the home,” says Aquilina. But outside–he’s adjusting to wearing prosthetics on each leg.
“You can’t explain to an animal why you are putting these contraptions on their feet. You can’t explain to them, that it’s to help them,” she says.
So Aquilina eases Brutus slowly into a life with artificial limbs.
The high-stepping hound sometimes resembles a bucking bronco. Exercises and play help the 2-year-old learn balance.
But Aquilina wants much more for him.
“He’s able to walk in them. It’s not always pretty. We want to be able to give him a higher function, where he can run and play with other dogs, go on hikes,” Aquilina said.
Brutus ended up disabled because he got frostbite on all four paws and his breeder amputated the damage himself, maiming him. And that’s where OrthoPets of Denver came in.
“Brutus is an amazing case of a beautiful dog who was dealt a short hand,” said Martin Kauffman, founder of OrthoPets.
His manufacturing company makes prosthetics for about 250 animals worldwide a year.
“He can get out and do normal doggy things. And it just makes you feel so good,” he says.
It also makes Aquilina feel good that her furry friend is an inspiration for other animals with disabilities.
“If he ended up in a shelter they’d say he was unadoptable because he’s missing his feet. I think it’s good for people to know we can work with animals like this,” she said.
Brutus’ next step involves physical therapy at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins.
He’ll also get an improved set of prosthetics.
All of it to help Brutus get around even better.
A version of this report was originally published by KDVR, KDAF’s sister station in Denver.