A North Texas ranch which uses rescue animals to help in therapy for victims of trauma has one very special new client. She is on the four-legged side of the operation. But three of those legs -- don't work.
Ranch Hands Rescue in Argyle takes in the broken, and helps to fix them. Chris Maples knows this well. While in the Army, the former soldier had tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coming home wasn’t easy.
“There are my own things, where I am crippled,” said Maples of the combat-related PTSD. “Things that keep me back, stop me."
Seeking help, Maples found Ranch Hands Rescue. The place has a motto: “Animals helping people & people helping animals.” It was here where Maples, who now serves as ranch supervisor, found a very special puppy. A ten-month- old Basenji mix, named “Roo.”
“All the counselors love her, and the clients, too,” he said.
By all accounts, Roo is a miracle dog. She was adopted from a local shelter, because her previous owner could not care for her.
“She most likely would have been euthanized,” said Bob Williams, founder of Ranch Hands Rescue.
The latest news from around North Texas.
That can be blamed on what Roo doesn’t have. Born with congenital defects in three of her four legs, she cannot walk normally.
“When they called me they said this dog only has one good leg,” said Willaims. “Nobody's gonna take her."
Williams – did. And now, Roo is a therapy dog, used in treatment of people with PTSD, and victims of sex abuse and sex trafficking.
“What you see between humans and animals is an unconditional love,” said Dr. Ben Dickerson, director of clinical therapy. “You overlook the fact that this particular dog is lacking three limbs. But you look at the face of the dog. The eyes. And they have so much to say."
Ranch Hands Rescue was formed in 2009 as a way of bringing together abused and neglected animals, with abused and neglected people. The place is home to dozens of animals and countless clients. Now, Williams wants to help Roo heal. With the assistance veterinarians at Oklahoma State University, she is being fitted with three prosthetic legs. But it's costly.
“It's quite a challenge, yeah,” said Williams.
Each prosthetic leg costs $2,000. Willaims figures Roo will need about two months of physical therapy, at about $200 dollars a day. Some people question whether it's worth it.
“We don't look at it that way,” said Williams. “We look at the fact that these animals, if we can give them a chance, we give them back their dignity."
Ranch Hands Rescue already has experience. All of the animals there have been neglected. The most famous, perhaps, is Midnite. The horse which gained national attention when it received a prosthetic leg in 2012.
Roo’s turn is next. The ranch is accepting donations to help pay for the prosthetics.
“Just like every human being, we all want a purpose, direction and motivation,” said Maples. “That's the same thing she's got."
The desire to survive. And the desire to be broken, no more.
“It's going to be a long process and we're optimistic,” said Willaims. “But we just have to keep trying."