A lot of people ask Halie White how her dog, Tuesday, got her name. And it’s not for the day of the week she was born (though technically, Tuesday was actually born on a Tuesday).
“She is named after one of my heroes,” Halie says.
The golden retriever born with just three legs was named for another golden– a service dog owned by a decorated Army Captain named Luis Montalavan. Halie had read his book, “Until Tuesday,” in which Luis writes about his experiences overcoming physical injuries, PTSD and traumatic brain injury after completing two tours in Iraq. Trained to help the disabled, Tuesday himself had his own trust issues. Then he met Luis. The two helped save each other from their mental wounds.
Halie, who comes from a military family, was touched by Luis and Tuesday’s story. She wrote the author telling him she would name her next dog after Tuesday. She was thrilled when Luis wrote back and then saddened, years later to learn of his suicide – crying over the news even though the man was a stranger.
A couple years ago, Halie came through on her promise to Luis. She was working in a vet’s office at the time when a local breeder she was friendly with came into the office with a litter of day-old puppies. One of the puppies was missing part of her right front leg. While Halie normally steers clear of breeders (she was the co-founder of herlocal humane society) she knew this woman was responsible as any breeder could be.
Halie asked about the puppy with the missing leg– the breeder didn’t know what she’d do with her. At the time Halie already had eight or nine dogs. She wasn’t looking to get another. And she definitely wasn’t looking to get a puppy. But she’d always loved goldens, and she’d wanted a dog she could train to be a therapy dog.
Outfitted with a prosthetic, Halie thought the puppy would be perfect for visiting children’s hospitals. So she decided to take the dog home, naming her Tuesday, in honor of a dog and a man she held in such high regard.
Prosthetic Helps Protect Tuesday from Stress Years Down the Road
With years of experience as a vet tech and dog owner, Halie was aware about the availability of prosthetics for canines that were missing legs.
She knew from the beginning she wanted to pursue this option for Tuesday to head off some of the challenges with arthritis and neck, back and elbow strain three-legged dogs face as they age– especially dogs missing front limbs where 60 percent of their weight is distributed.
Taking Tuesday for walks without the prosthetic, Halie can see she doesn’t really enjoy herself.
“Her tail isn’t tucked, but she looks like my husband when we’re out shopping,” she says.
She thought a prosthetic would allow Tuesday to go more places and do more socializing.
It’s not that Halie feels sorry for her dog. She knows Tuesday isn’t aware of her disability.
“Kids will say oh I feel so sorry for her, she only has three legs. And I’ll tell them, ‘She’s looking at you thinking you only have two!’”
She found Derrick Campana, CO, and Animal Ortho Care, through, of all things, a calendar featuring dogs from the Golden Retriever Rescue of Atlanta (Tuesday was featured in March). Halie saw that the dog pictured in October wore a brace and reached out to the owner to learn more about it. That owner referred her to Derrick.
Halie waited until she thought Tuesday had topped out her weight before contacting Animal Ortho Care. At that time, Tuesday was about a year and a half old.
It was a bit of a challenge building the prosthetic so that it fit just right on Tuesday’s stump– Halie says the leg has a funky bend to it– so the device has racked up miles being mailed back and forth between Georgia and Virginia. To help the Animal Ortho Care team iron out the kinks, Halie shared video of Tuesday walking in the device.
But time and persistence seem to have paid off, as Halie says she thinks the latest version of the leg is going to work out.
Tuesday takes half-hour walks on her prosthetic every day. Instead of trying to run as fast as she can, Halie is able to get the dog to slow down and go farther because she doesn’t have to worry as much about the dog tiring out.
While Tuesday refuses to wear her prosthetic in the house– she learned quickly how to take the strap off– Halie is thrilled with the progress she’s made so far. And now that the dog has calmed a little from being a high-energy puppy, Halie thinks it’s time to start getting her out in the world and preparing her to be a therapy dog. In honor of Luis and the original Tuesday, Halie hopes that she’ll be able to bring her Tuesday in for visits at her local veteran’s hospital once she completes her final test (three supervised therapy visits). While Halie might be the one doing the training, she says Tuesday teachers her something new every day.
“I don’t think people give animals enough credit,” she says. “I’ve seen that so many times in rescues that have come to live with us– whether they were born without a limb or they lost one, they get back up and go.”