It wasn’t so long ago when Luke’s survival was a daily miracle.
But today, the rescued Great Dane not only has a new lease on life – he’s also equipped with an augmented leg, courtesy of world-renowned animal orthopedist Derrick Campana.
“He was putting a lot of weight on it, which was great, and I’m going to send a few extra spring feet down there with different variable resistances, so he can practice,” Campana said.
Campana, whose work has been featured on Animal Planet – last summer he traveled to Botswana and fitted an elephant with a leg brace – said he was inspired by Luke’s journey back to health.
The 6-year-old dog arrived at Noah’s Arks, a Ridgeland-based animal rescue facility, just before Thanksgiving.
Severely malnourished and fighting an aggressive infection after gnawing off his foot in an attempt to free himself from a tangled runner, Luke was 100 pounds underweight and developed severe heart and lung problems because of electrolyte loss.
Doctors removed his damaged leg in December, and have been working toward crafting a prosthetic. Campana designed three versions, and Luke took to the final model and quickly regained his mobility.
“He did better than expected upon initial fitting. Since he’s a Great Dane, he has a nice long, lean leg, which made it easier,” Campana said. “He hasn’t used that leg for a while, so it takes some time to get used to it.”