Due to prejudice, even healthy pit bulls can have a hard time finding a home. But Cody landed in the shelter with a deformed foot, and his chances weren’t looking good until San Diego-based Even Chance Pit Bull Advocacy + Resources + Rescue stopped by the shelter to see another dog and noticed the limping puppy. Soon Cody was on his way to the rescue’s vet, where he was diagnosed with a congenital deformity called ectrodactyly or “lobster claw.” Through donations, Even Chance paid to have an orthopedic surgeon correct the problem. Thanks to Dr. Sean Aiken at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego, Cody underwent a successful procedure to fuse his two toes together and to connect the surrounding skin, transforming his “lobster claw” to a “mitten.”
Fate stepped in again when one of the surgical interns introduced Cody to her parents, who were looking to adopt. In his new home, Cody continued to rehabilitate with water therapy. He also began training and showed a natural inclination toward therapy work. His adopter, Barbara Sulier, describes him as a “sweet little loving boy with a charisma that pulls people over to talk to him. He loves all people and wants to make them happy,” she says. “We are so very proud of him and for what he is now doing for the breed’s image,” says Nicole Edwards, president of Even Chance.
At one year old, Cody is now the first pit bull to be certified as a therapy dog through New Leash On Life’s Lend a Paw program in Los Angeles.
“During the wheelchair client test, he gently put his paws on the lap and kissed the client, who was thrilled,” describes Sulier.
And while Cody still has a slight limp due to missing bones and muscles in his right foreleg, he doesn’t let it slow him down. Sulier believes it will also help physically challenged children relate to him. Cody illustrates just what is possible when prejudice is set aside. Once discarded as damaged goods, he is now changing lives as a therapy dog.
About Even Chance Pit Bull Advocacy + Resources + Rescue: Even Chance is a 501c3 non-profit organization striving to counteract misinformation about pit bulls with factual education, communication and resources for the public, pit bull owners and potential adopters. Even Chance rescues temperamentally sound dogs from Southern California shelters, including dogs with medical needs and dogs rescued from organized fighting rings or other inhumane situations. Even Chance provides foster care for these rescued dogs until they are placed in safe and loving forever homes. For more information, visit www.evenchance.org.