Lovable Stray Mika and Her ’T-Rex’ Leg an Inspiration to Get Back Up
MARBLE FALLS — When the Burnet animal control officer found Mika, the dog wasn't much to look at. Her time on the streets with no regular sources of food and water left her shriveled as her skin and fur sank back into the recesses of her bones.
The tan-colored, mix-breed dog likely would have died on the streets because, along with being a stray, her left, front leg and paw curled up underneath her body, a birth defect that made it almost impossible for her to walk.
"See, her brain is still telling her that leg is still there and it works," said Claire Edwards of Living Love Animal Rescue in Marble Falls. "When she goes to walk, she tries to use the leg because her brain is sending those nerve impulses that she can."
The appendage, described as a “T-Rex“ leg, doesn't even touch the ground, so as Mika tries to walk, she stumbles.
"This causes Mika to constantly fall and is making her other legs overcompensate," said Kirsten Newman, Living Love’s shelter manager.
Left on her own, Mika's fate looked bleak. Placing her in a home could be a monumental task because of the long-term care such a disfigurement would require.
The best option for Mika's future would be amputating the leg.
"The expense of the surgery and taking care of her is going to be high," Edwards said, “but we're going to do it. This is a dog most, if not all, shelters would have to turn away because of the costs and low chances of it being adopted later."
Living Love Animal Rescue, however, willingly accepts animals suffering from health issues, whether from extreme abuse and neglect, injuries, or deformities, but these animals put a lot of pressure on a facility's resources and staff.
There is also the chance animals that were abused or severely neglected will rebuke any attention and affection.
But not Mika.
"That's just not the case," Edwards said.
Mika basks in the attention of people, returning it tenfold.
"Even though Mika has been faced with hardships, she continues to be an inspiration to all," Newman said. "She doesn't hold back. (She) loves freely, constantly happy, tail always wagging, (has a) smile for everyone she sees."
Even when Mika stumbles and falls on her bad leg, she gets right back up again.
"(She's) a reminder to all that no matter how hard life may get, what obstacles are thrown at you, you never give up," Newman added. "Brush yourself off and keep going."
As for the leg, once it’s removed, along with the connected nerves, she'll no longer have the impulse to use it. Though Mika will only have three legs after the surgery, Newman said she'll adjust to her "tripod" life and will be able to “run and play freely without the risk of hurting herself."
As a nonprofit that relies on donations for most of its support, the surgery and follow-up care will dig deep into Living Love’s coffers, but Edwards said it's part of the organization's mission to help all the dogs and cats that come through its gates.
"Living Love will always do the best to care for the animals that we are blessed with," she said.
Plus, Edwards pointed out, people can learn so much from the most damaged dogs.
"One of the things we've seen, even in the most highly abused dogs, is they never take it out on anyone. They may be fearful and scared when they come in, but they always just show so much love," Edwards said. "I think one thing we all can learn from these dogs, no matter what we have going on, we don't have to let adversity change us."
Go to livingloveanimalrescue.org for more information or check out Living Love’s Facebook page.
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