Sunday’s Story

Born on the 27thof May 2018, somewhere in Western Sydney Australia, Sunday did not have the best start to life.

She was the runt of a litter of 11, that unfortunately due to neglect, Sunday was one of only 3 that survived. Sunday also an unknown incident occur that left her hind left foot necrotic, and the only way forward was to amputate at only 3 days old. While it was an option to amputate the entire limb, it was decided to try lower (at the proximal metatarsal head for those anatomically inclined), to give her the small chance of one day wearing a prosthetic leg.

Not much is known about Sunday’s early life, until the 2ndof August when, after Facebook message came through to us asking us whether we could have a look at her 3 legged puppy. Sunday was brought into the Animal Rehab Klinik in Sutherland the very next day by her foster carer to see if there was anything that could be done to help her manage her leg throughout her life. As Sunday would never be able to walk properly, it was more than likely that she would wind up having other secondary issues from the way she walks.

By this stage, I’d secretly fallen in love with Sunday, so I decided that Rhys would do the musculoskeletal assessment of Sunday because if I held her I wouldn’t be able to give her back. I was a little thrown, because an hr ago I thought we were just assessing a 3 legged puppy, now I’m trying to figure out how I could adopt her! At the end of the assessment, Sunday went back home with her foster carer for what she didn’t know was her last 2 weeks there.

I must admit, I tried to talk myself out of it for a while. I lived in an apartment which wasn’t practical…but the love was too strong. I got in touch with the foster carer soon after to let her know I wanted to take Sunday in. By now, I had moved out of my apartment into a place with a garden to accommodate her, visited the pet shop and made a home fit for a 3 legged dog. In the meantime, Rhys had started looking for places to make prosthesis for her.

Soon after first meeting Sunday, we had a stall at the Dog Lovers Show in Sydney. We had some super cute footage from when we met Sunday, and decided to put it up on the TV for everyone to see. The footage caught the eye of Sharon, a TV producer from Channel 7 and after a bit of a chat said that she would like to follow Sunday’s Story with legendary TV Veterinarian, Dr Harry Cooper on the Better Homes and Gardens TV show. As Sunday was only 12 weeks old and still at that adorable puppy age, it was imperative to film ASAP. 1 week later there was a film crew at the Animal Rehab Klinik with Sunday on centre stage, as we told the story to Australia about how we were planning on helping Sunday to function as normally as possible. You can watch the segment below (opens in new window).

Getting Sunday her prosthesis had taken some time and research, but we finally managed to get in touch with a company called 3D Orthosis in San Diego USA who had just started supplying 3D printed prostheses overseas. While there were one or two animal prosthetics companies in Australia, none used 3D printing technology. I felt that for a growing puppy, this would be the best solution for the cost, speed and ability to tweak the designs. After a few emails and phone conversations, it was time to get Sunday measured up for her first prosthetic.

Over the course of the next 6 months, Sunday went through no less than 10 different prostheses. Some didn’t work well for her, some she grew out of and one she broke, but we eventually got her there. The process was also more involved than just finding a prosthesis to fit…from day one we had to get her strengthening her leg. Because she didn’t use it to walk, the muscles were underdeveloped, and bone density not so great. The best option, while she was waiting for her prosthesis, was to get her swimming.

Since then Sunday swims 3 times per week, up to 20 minutes now. Not bad considering she’s missing a paddle! Once we did get that prosthesis to fit, then it was a matter of literally showing her how to walk, and slowly building up that time she spent walking to gradually build strength, as well as getting her skin around her stump accustomed to having pressure on it. The video here shows how we taught Sunday to walk!

Soon after first meeting Sunday, we had a stall at the Dog Lovers Show in Sydney. We had some super cute footage from when we met Sunday, and decided to put it up on the TV for everyone to see. The footage caught the eye of Sharon, a TV producer from Channel 7 and after a bit of a chat said that she would like to follow Sunday’s Story with legendary TV Veterinarian, Dr Harry Cooper on the Better Homes and Gardens TV show. As Sunday was only 12 weeks old and still at that adorable puppy age, it was imperative to film ASAP. 1 week later there was a film crew at the Animal Rehab Klinik with Sunday on centre stage, as we told the story to Australia about how we were planning on helping Sunday to function as normally as possible. You can watch the segment below (opens in new window).