When Maja Kazazic of Palm Harbor, Fla., was living in Bosnia years ago, she was severely injured by a bomb blast that killed all her friends.
The 16-year-old’s left leg became infected and had to be amputated. To her surprise, she was rescued by a stranger and eventually came to the United States.
Yesterday, Kazazic made a rescue of her own. The athlete, entrepreneur and motivational speaker adopted a three-legged Great Dane named Rosie.
Rosie, now 16 months old, was just a puppy when her mother stepped on her and broke her rear right leg. As with Kazazic, Rosie’s leg became infected and had to be partially amputated.
Rosie’s breeder wanted her to be euthanized, but thanks to Kazazic, the Great Dane’s life was spared.
“I felt this instant kinship because I have this affinity for things that are rescued,” Kazazic told FOX 13. “Being a rescued person myself, someone who should have died, it was really an instant connection.”
Kazazic found out about Rosie through the Hanger Clinic, which created her prosthetic leg as well as the prosthetic tail for Winter, the dolphin made famous in the heartwarming 2011 film, “Dolphin Tale” and its 2014 sequel, “Dolphin Tale 2.” *
Rosie’s veterinarian contacted the Hanger Clinic after the dog’s leg was amputated. Clinician Peter DiPaolo told FOX 13 the vet knew about the prosthetic dolphin tail. “He asked, ‘Can you guys make a prosthetic leg for a dog?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely.'”
The personalities of the dolphin and dog were similar, DiPaolo said. “They were both kids when they first were fit, and we’re going to see her all along the way,” he told FOX 13.
DiPaolo called Kazazic, who’d wanted a Great Dane since she was a young girl, and told her about Rosie.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to meet Rosie, you guys would be perfect,’ and I said, ‘Who’s Rosie?,’” Kazazic told FOX 13. “He said, ‘She’s a Great Dane that wears a prosthetic leg.'”
As Rosie grows (to about 135 pounds), instead of learning to walk on three legs, she will probably continue to need a prosthesis. Kazazic said her vet told her larger dogs have more difficulty balancing on three legs.
“I saw what happened to her and literally fell in love,” Kazazic told FOX 13 about her new best friend. “It was like the other half of me.”
You can follow their adventures on the Rosie the Great Dane Facebook page.
A similar “pawfect” match was made in April, when the family of 3-year-old Sapphyre Johnson, who had a birth defect that left her without some toes and fingers, adopted a white German Shepherd puppy born without a right front paw.
As with Rosie, other breeders advised Karen Riddle, of Greenville, S.C., to euthanize the puppy, who the Johnson family named Lt. Dan. But unlike Rosie’s breeder, Riddle said, No way! She knew this special puppy would be the perfect companion for a child with a disability — and she was right.
The Shriners Hospital for Children, which made Sapphyre’s prosthetic legs, has promised to make a prosthetic paw for Lt. Dan when he’s fully grown.
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