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Puppy born without front legs is living his best life

Joey is a 5-month-old dog that’s full of pep and energy despite having a disability. (The National Desk)
Joey is a 5-month-old dog that’s full of pep and energy despite having a disability. (The National Desk)
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FOSTER, R.I. (TND) — A puppy born without front legs is living his best life.

Meet Joey. He’s a 5-month-old dog that’s full of pep and energy despite having a disability.

For now, he’s living at Vintage Pet Rescue, a non-profit organization in Rhode Island.

Kristen Peralta is the founder and executive director.

She said Joey is happy and always wagging his tail.

He loves playing outside on his splash pad, as well as spending time with other dogs.

“He’s amazing,” Peralta told The National Desk Friday.

“Aside from not having front legs, he’s healthy,” she added.

Joey will be getting neutered in June. Then, he’ll be fitted for a wheelchair, with help from Eddie’s Wheels, a company in Massachusetts.

We’re getting a custom wheelchair for him with front wheels, so he can move around the backyard and inside,” said Peralta. “Once that’s all set, we’ll be putting him up for adoption.”

Ideally, Peralta said his new home will be within 100 miles of the non-profit. She'd like to see him living in the northeast.

“Just in case something doesn’t work out,” she said. “If he needs assistance, he’ll be nearby.”

Peralta said Joey needs a place where he’d get a lot of love and attention.

Safety is also a priority, so Peralta said a house without stairs would be perfect.

Anyone who has experience with special needs dogs would also be a plus.

With special needs dogs, you just have to think out of the box sometimes,” Peralta said. “You have to come up with new things for them.”

As an example, Peralta has been using a knee pad to prevent Joey’s chest from getting injured, as he uses his upper body to move.

“We don’t want him rubbing too much on his little chest and getting sore and cutting himself up,” she said. “He can bounce around and not have any chafing or anything.”

In fact, his ability to hop and bounce inspired his name.

“He looks like a baby kangaroo,” Peralta said, as baby kangaroos are known as joeys.

Joey, who was born on Christmas Day, is among 26 dogs currently living at Vintage Pet Rescue.

Plus, there are 10 others in short-term foster homes, as well as another 26 in permanent foster homes.

“In forever foster homes, we cover vet bills for the rest of the dog’s life, but they are living with a person or a family,” Peralta said, also noting that dogs in short-term care need medical attention and will then be available for adoption.

The non-profit was established in September 2017 to care for senior dogs.

Since then, Peralta said she and a team of about 12 volunteers, along with several others offering foster care, have helped nearly 400 dogs, maybe of which were over the age of 15.

“But we also have expanded into special needs dogs, so dogs who are paralyzed (and) dogs who are true hospice and only have a few months to live,” Peralta said.

In 2022 alone, Peralta and her team have taken in at least 100 dogs so far.

“Last year, we took in a total of 109 dogs,” she said. “We’re already pretty much at our 2021 number this year.”

Often, many of the dogs end up at Vintage Pet Rescue because their owner died or fell ill, or had to move into an assisted living facility.

Peralta said she thinks the coronavirus pandemic has played a role, too.

“A lot of people are being evicted from their homes,” she said. “People can’t really pay for their vet bills, and a lot of the dogs come to us from people who are older and have to go into a nursing home. They have a dog that can’t go with them.”

They include Gordon and Peanut, whose owners recently died, along with Hershey, Bloo, Grandpa, and Princess, just to name a few.

They are all Chihuahuas or Chihuahua mixes, with the exception of Princess, who is a Pomeranian mix.

It’s not clear what Joey’s breed is, but Peralta said he fits in well with the smaller dogs that live at the non-profit.

He’s been there for about three months now.

Previously, he was at the Connecticut Humane Society, where he was surrendered.

“A lot of people call the organization to surrender dogs and they had someone call about Joey,” Peralta said, noting that the Connecticut Humane Society then reached out to Vintage Pet Rescue, with Peralta happily taking him in.

“You can’t stop him,” she said. “He learned to get up on his back legs by himself and he’ll hop around.”

Joey is the first dog missing legs the organization has taken in.

While it’s a new experience, she said they are learning how to best care for him.

But Peralta said Joey behaves like a typical puppy. He enjoys a good game of tug of war and loves being showered with attention and affection.

“He just acts like a normal dog,” she said. “He will just hop from person to person, from lap to lap. He just loves love.”

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Learn more about Joey at, or visit their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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