In autumn 2015, Chihuahua Daffodil was found abandoned in a cardboard box on the streets by a Good Samaritan who took the neglected puppy to the nearby rescue centre, San Francisco SPCA.
The tiny puppy was born with a congenital forelimb deformity, resulting in her front legs never fully developing. Daffodil was fitted with custom-made wheels, and after a little practice, the pooch was able to walk and run.
Shortly after, veterinary technician Olivia Kong fell in love with the cute canine and adopted her.
‘Daffodil does not let her “disability” limit her,’ says Olivia. ‘She is very outgoing and determined.
Her daily life is much like any other puppy. It is, however, important because of her missing forelimbs that she is always in a safe environment where she is not at risk for falls or injury.’
Back in Colorado, Olivia has helped Daffodil learn to ‘drive’ her wheels and strengthen her muscles. She’s now even mobile without her special support and can jump, play and walk on her back legs. And just over a year after she was found – approaching her first birthday – Daffodil went on her first hike.
With larger wheels fitted for the rougher terrain, the eager Chihuahua had no problem manoeuvering over the rocks and plants. ‘Daffodil did a fantastic job and we did not have any difficulties on our first big hiking day,’ says Olivia. ‘We did stop for regular water, food and treats breaks along the trails.
‘You always can see the excitement in her eyes and her tail wagging when I get out her wheels, but somehow she knew that day was extra special!’
With her new-found off-road skills, nothing can stop this confident puppy from more exciting adventures in the future. ‘The reward of seeing her happy and thriving is priceless to me and that is what matters most. I think the most important thing is always to remember that we should be kind to others regardless of our differences.
‘We are all different in our own way, each and every one of us, animal and human alike. A positive attitude is very powerful.’