Lifestyle & Human Interest

Three-Legged Dog Rescued from the Woods, Now Adopted by Veteran Who Lost His Leg in IED Explosion


On June 2, several people decided to go fishing at Johnson Creek in Burns, Tennessee. While they probably were expecting to reel in a few fish, they found something else ambling through the plants.

A little brown-and-white 6-month-old puppy — but something was very different about this little guy: he was missing a good section of his back right leg.

Even veterinarian Jeremiah Wojnarowski couldn’t quite say what had caused the traumatic loss.

“We’re assuming that a dog might have chewed it off, he could have got it caught in something, it doesn’t appear he got hit by a car or anything like that, but something pretty bad happened to him,” the vet said, according to WTVF.

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Despite his obvious painful situation and difficult past, the pup was mild-mannered and let the staff care for him with nothing but sweetness. His right leg was so badly damaged that it needed to be amputated, and his left leg would need a lot of care as well.

“Potentially if all else fails, a wheelchair is kind of a last ditch effort,” Wojnarowski said. “Sky’s the limit for little guys like him, they can recover from a lot of things that older dogs just can’t come through, so we’re hopeful.”

The pup was taken in by the Humane Society of Dickson County, where the general manager, Vivienne Akhdary, fussed over him.

“What a little fighter,” Akhdary said. “What a little trooper, to be so injured and just be so happy, and tail waggy, it’s really amazing.”

“One of the most adorable puppies I’ve ever seen,” she said. The pup was named “Scooter,” and he stole many people’s hearts.

“Scooter got get well cards!” a Facebook post from the humane society shared. “Thanks to all who donated, shared, and prayed for this little boy. His stump will be removed this week, and ongoing therapy for his other leg will continue. He’s a tough little trooper!”

The next big news is warming even more hearts. On July 25, the humane society posted that Scooter had found his forever home.

“Scooter, the puppy found with his leg missing, is healed up and been adopted by his foster!” the post read. “Happy life Scooter!!!”

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His new owner wasn’t just anyone. No, Retired Sgt. First Class Joshua Ferguson is probably the best person to end up with Scooter, not only because he had volunteered to foster the pup, but because he has personal experience that relates to the little dog’s: Ferguson is also missing a leg.

According to WZTV, Ferguson lost his leg during the Gulf War to a bomb on the side of the road in Iraq.

“We survived, here we are, and I say ‘we’ because all 5 of us out on the truck lived which is pretty rare with that type of IED,” Ferguson told WTVF. “There’s silver linings to anything, you can find something, and even if you can’t, somebody’s had it worse! So stop complaining.”

WZTV reported that Ferguson visited Scooter every day in the animal hospital before fostering and ultimately adopting him. Ferguson is thoroughly smitten with sweet little Scooter, and the two have plans in the future to get Scooter trained as a therapy dog so he can encourage other amputees.

“It’s impossible to not smile around him,” Ferguson said. “Everybody’s so happy to see him, then they notice he’s got 3 legs. ‘He’s happy you were overjoyed to see him, don’t pity him!'”

“He makes it easier for me to remember, hey it’s still a beautiful day. You realize really just how tremendous a journey life is.”

“As tragic as his situation is, at best or at worst,” Ferguson admitted, “I’m pretty frickin’ blessed.”

In speaking to The Western Journal, Ferguson revealed that he knew Scooter was destined to be his from the moment he set eyes on him.

When asked when he knew the foster pup would be a “foster fail,” he replied, “When I sat on the floor at the animal hospital at burns the first day. He is perfect.”

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