When Breanna Sarver decided to have a puppy, she started looking online for a normal, lively golden retriever. It was love at first sight when she met Casey, and she knew she was supposed to be her dog despite the fact that she was born with three legs.
Sarver drove the two hours to pick up Casey and officially welcome her into her family not long after seeing her image. Sarver and Casey were inseparable from the minute they met and did everything together. Casey was just happy to be living her life with her mom and best friend and never showed any signs of knowing she was any different.
“The best word that anyone who had ever met her would use was ‘happy,’” Sarver said to The Dodo. “She was always happy.” Happy to accompany me to work every day, happy to meet everyone, happy to come home at the end of the day, happy to go to Petco and pick out her favorite toy. She was exceedingly devoted and caring. For almost a year, she was my right hand; I never went anywhere without her.”
Sarver and her boyfriend chose to welcome another three-legged dog into their home, a shepherd mix named Harper, knowing how beautiful Casey was and wanting to help others like her. Harper had settled in beautifully with Casey, and life was going swimmingly – until tragedy struck a month later.
Unfortunately, Casey died in a horrible accident shortly after Harper was adopted. Her mom had no idea how she was going to cope with such a catastrophe, and her parents were devastated. Sarver called the woman from whom she had adopted Casey two days after her death to inform her of the tragic news. While the woman was equally upset, she did have some wonderful news: Casey’s brother, who was born with only three legs, was looking for a home.
“I never thought I’d be able to accept another dog into the family for quite some time after Casey’s traumatic death,” Sarver said. “However, fate has a habit of doing the unthinkable.”
Sarver went to pick up Casey’s brother, Chance, and welcomed him into the family just four days after she died.
“It was one of the best decisions I could have ever made,” stated Sarver. “He comforted me in ways I could never have imagined during my grief.”
Sarver was astounded by how much Chance resembled Casey in every manner as he developed. Their personalities, features, smiles, and little peculiarities were all the same. By adopting Chance, it was as if Casey had never left and was still alive every day through Chance.
“Sometimes I forget that they aren’t the same dog,” Sarver admitted. “It would be impossible for anyone else to understand when I say that, through Chance, I feel her soul is still here with us.”
Chance assisted Sarver in processing her grief over Casey’s death, and before long, they welcomed yet another three-legged dog into their pack: a blind puppy named Oakley. When the couple adopted Oakley, they began referring to their dogs as the “tripawd squad.”
People sometimes ask how the couple manages so many three-legged dogs, but it’s second nature to them. It’s just their family to them.
“We don’t face nearly as many challenges as many people believe having all three-legged dogs,” Sarver explained. “They still run, jump, swim, and play extremely well.” The only distinction I can think of is that they tire out far faster than other four-legged dogs. They expend more energy attempting to hop rather than walk and bear more weight on fewer legs. We enjoy taking them on outings, but we must be careful not to overwork them.”
The couple must also keep an eye on the dogs’ weight to avoid putting unnecessary strain on their joints. They strive to keep them thin and active, and they also give them daily joint supplements to help them avoid future joint problems.
The tripawd squad’s three dogs genuinely love one another and appear to understand that they are all in this together. When one of them isn’t feeling well, the other two rush to his side, and they care for each other in ways that astound their parents every day.
“When we brought Oakley home, Chance knew before we did that he was blind,” Sarver explained. “Chance is obsessed with sticks and would never share any of his sticks with Harper.” But when Oakley came by, he’d stand there and hold the stick up for him to chew on so he didn’t lose it.”
Sarver and her boyfriend had no intention of adopting three-legged dogs, but because to Casey, they’ve seen how much love and joy these dogs can give and have accepted it as their mission. They are very happy to welcome a fourth member to the tripawd squad, a dog named Willow, and to see their little family expand in Casey’s memory.
“The incredible thing about these tripods is that they never pity themselves for being disabled/different; they are always happy to be alive,” Sarver added.