Working dog breeds have always appealed to Rebecca and her husband Alex. Breeds like Blue Heelers and Kelpies, renowned for their intelligence, loyalty and a healthy appetite for exercise.
So when the couple started exploring available dogs to adopt from rescue groups, these breeds were on their radar. The fact that the dog who caught their eye on RSPCA’s website was missing a front leg had no impact on their resolve to meet him and see if he was a good fit for their family.
Heartstrings pulled at first sight
“We saw this beautiful dog and just thought ‘with all that he’s been through, we can make sure he’s loved,” says Rebecca.
So the family of five made the trip to Lonsdale to meet Bear, a one-year-old Heeler X who came into RSPCA’s care with a serious injury from being hit by a motorbike. His right front leg was so badly damaged it could not be saved; our vet team had decided that amputation was the most humane option.
An emergency fund was set up to cover the cost of Bear’s surgery and rehabilitation, and donors soon rallied to his cause. Since the operation, this handsome boy has never looked back.
The most important consideration for Rebecca and Alex, in deciding whether Bear was the dog for them, was seeing how he was with their three young children – two-year-old Robert, five-year-old Lizzy and seven-year-old William.
Little people can be scary
Recalling that first meeting, Rebecca said Bear was clearly feeling a bit overwhelmed.
“He was fine with Alex, but a bit wary of the little people with us. We just let him take his time, and come up to us if he wanted to.
“But once we had him home he warmed up really quickly, much faster than we had expected. It was as though he realised this was his home and we were his family.”
A new name and a new life
They decided to rename Bear, giving him the moniker “Bandit” after one of the dogs in the ABC children’s series “Bluey”.
“The show’s about a family of Blue Heelers, and all our kids love it,” Rebecca says.
Two weeks after being adopted, Bandit went camping at Tailem Bend with his new family and some of their friends.
“There were lots of people, we were all in tents and we wondered how he’d go, but he just loved it. We had lots of walks and he got plenty of attention.”
Bandit keeps his new family safe
According to Rebecca, who has never had a dog before, Bandit is very protective of their children.
He will wait for any stragglers when they’re out walking, sit beside the trampoline watching when the children are playing on it and is quick to let them know when someone unfamiliar is at the gate.
As for how Bandit is coping on three legs, Rebecca says the only time they notice it affecting him is when he sometimes loses his balance trying to cock his leg to urinate.
Who needs four legs?
“He’s besotted with balls and will play fetch forever, and the speed at which he takes off after the ball, you’d never know he only has three legs.
“Our instincts were right – he is the perfect fit for our family and we feel incredibly lucky to have him.”
We’re so grateful to all our supporters who helped give Bandit a new start in life.
Want to help more animals in urgent need, just like Bandit? Head over here to see our current emergency appeals.