By now, Melody Rezzonico is used to people staring at her husky mix Gus. After all, it’s obvious he’s special.
Even Melody was taken aback when she saw the rescue dog for the first time. “He looked like a little baby kangaroo!” she said, knowing she had to make him part of her family.
Gus’ life had a rough start. He was born with a shortened right front leg, and the left was so deformed it had to be amputated. Then, at just a few months old, he was abandoned in South Dakota.
Melody said she didn’t know the extent of Gus’ medical issues when she adopted him from Black Dog Animal Rescue. But she didn’t care. She was willing to do whatever she could to give him a happy life.
“I just fell in love with his smile,” she told GMA. “Just because he’s a little different doesn’t mean he’s not worth fighting for.”
She learned pretty quickly after bringing him home to Laramie, Wyoming that he was full of life. Sure, he had some limitations. “But he’s the most active dog I have, and I have a herding dog, so that says a lot about him,” Melody said.
Still, she knew Gus could use a little help when it came to mobility, so she got him a custom wheelchair. Soon, a world of adventure opened up to Gus that includes hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and swimming. He’s even taken a trip to the red rocks of Moab, Utah!
But when it came to snow and other winter conditions, his wheelchair couldn’t keep up. That’s where animal orthotist Derrick Campana came in!
Derrick creates orthotics and prosthetics for animals with his company Bionic Pets. After Melody saw him featured on “Animal Planet,” she set off for Sterling, Virginia to have Gus fitted for a body shell. While it took Gus some time to adjust, he now cruises easily across the snow on his snowboard attachment.
With his wheelchair and newest prosthetic, Gus is one of the most active dogs out there! He can even use his body shell to skirt across sand dunes!
If Melody hadn’t seen Gus’ potential, he’d never be living the happy life he has now. That’s what Melody hopes people will take away from Gus’ story: Every dog deserves a chance, no matter how different they might be.
Learn more about Gus in the video below, and share to spread Melody’s message. You can check out more of Gus’ adventures on Instagram and help Melody cover the cost of his prosthetics by donating here.
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