This Three-Legged Golden Retriever Is Helping Others Heal

Meet Mulligan.

Mulligan the golden retriever isn't just a lovable Southern pup. This extraordinary Alabama dog was faced with cancer, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. "He was diagnosed with synovial cell carcinoma cancer," says Mulligan's mom, Casey Schaffer, "so they amputated his entire rear right leg."

Since then, Mulligan's had five rounds of chemo. Through this process, his golden retriever brother, Bogey, would lay with Mulligan to comfort him. "He just knew he had to be there," said Casey.

Following his operation, Casey started to hear Mulligan yelping when he would lay down. Worried that something was wrong, she called Mulligan's doctor to check. The conclusion? Mulligan just wanted some cuddles. "He's not in any pain," said the doctor. "He's just playing y'all, because every time he starts this yelping you guys come to him and love on him."

Mulligan's disability hasn't stopped him from playing with and sharing his joy with others. "Once he started doing so much better and thriving, we decided that it would be really good to try and find some way to bring good out of such a scary situation," said Casey. "I want him to touch as many people as possible."

Now, Mulligan's on the road to becoming a therapy dog to help out kids with cancer, veterans – and anyone else who needs a little extra love. He recently passed his first therapy dog test with Hand In Paw.

Casey's conclusion? "He didn't need that leg anyway."

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

It was kinda funny. I decided I wanted a golden retriever about six months before my, at that time, boyfriend was ready to commit to one. And so, I went ahead and named him Mulligan. Every time I saw a picture of a golden retriever I would cut it out and put it on our fridge. So our fridge at the time was covered top to bottom with pictures of golden retrievers. So I wasn't discreet. He gave me a picture of Mulligan for Christmas, and he was our first child. [MUSIC] He had just started limping back, probably about this time last year. So I decided to take him to a holistic vet for acupuncture to see if that would help. And then as soon as she felt his knee, she knew right away He was diagnosed with synovial cell carcinoma cancer, and so they amputated his entire rear right leg because they wanted to get as far away from the tumor to hopefully make sure that they got it all out. It crushed me taking him to his amputation and then we had to leave him there the night. And I'd never left him anywhere overnight Then he's had since, five rounds of chemo. Bogey, his three year old golden retriever brother, he just knew, he just had to be there. He would just lay with him. He went, probably about a month after, through these weird things, where all of a sudden he'd just be kinda like yelping while he was lying down. And I mean, it really, really scared me. I didn't know what was going on. And Dr Lothrop, his internal medicine doctor had given me his cell phone Phone number. And so I'm calling him, being that crazy dog mom and sending him video and what not, and once Dr. Luthrop saw the video he was like he's not in any pain. He's just playing y'all because every time he starts this yelping, you guys come to him and love on him and he doesn't have to get up. And I was like you little stinker! After that two weeks he just was ready to play, he was ready to just live his life. It was just like he didn't need that leg anyway. Once he started doing so much better and just thriving, we decided that it would be really good to try and find some way to bring good out of such a scary situation. And so we decided to look into him becoming a therapy dog. we thought it would be so neat for him to go visit with kids going through chemo or who had lost a limb for some tragic reason, or veterans, or anybody really. Just to see how well he's doing and give them some reason to be excited. I mean, he's impacted my life, my and my husband's life so much that I want him to be able to touch everybody, as many people as possible. And for his reach to be big and wonderful so he'll always just be remembered as Not just a dog, but that he just made the most out of such a scary situation. So hopefully it will help people who themselves are facing something scary, to see that there can be a good outcome and just you have to. Be positive. [MUSIC]
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