By Janet McAfee
One day in 2013, Lindi Biggi was at her Loving All Animals’ office in Palm Desert when a woman rushed in carrying a beautiful tan and white Spaniel dog. She excitedly explained she was a volunteer at the old Indio Animal Shelter (now closed), and she stole the dog upon learning he was about to be euthanized. Lindi, founder and past president of Loving All Animals, wondered what might happen to her if she accepted this “stolen” dog. Her eyes locked with the soulful big brown eyes of the sweet creature, pleading eyes that seemed to sense the desperation of the moment.
It didn’t take long for Lindi, an ardent animal lover and rescuer, to decide to take in the precious pup. Next she noticed the animal’s front right leg was limp and badly deformed. But there was no way she was going to have him returned to the shelter to be killed.
Cassidy, named after the cowboy Hop-Along-Cassidy, became part of the Loving All Animals rescue organization while Lindi fostered him. Lindi recalls, “We put a lot of effort trying different things to save his leg. The vet believed his injury was from an old accident. Different remedies were tried. But there was no saving his leg and finally it had to be amputated. Sometimes we try too hard, and the animal suffers. In this case we came to realize how painful it was for Cassidy to walk. He quickly recovered after the surgery, and walked and ran with the other dogs.”
When it came time to find Cassidy a forever home, adopters passed him up, perhaps due to his missing leg. One day he decided to take things into his own paws, and escaped from an adoption pen during an event at the Shadow Mountain Golf course. He searched for the human he so loved, and ran into the arms of Lindi Biggi, his foster mom and savior. Again his pleading brown eyes sent a message, and the rest is history.
Lindi describes her dog Cassidy, “He is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known. When I get a new foster, he takes them under his wing and shows them around. He is the kindest spirit. When I go out in the golf cart, he enjoys riding on board and then going for short runs alongside. He has absolutely no concept of being “disabled”, he just lives happily enjoying everything that happens.” Cassidy was Lindi’s “nurse” while she was temporarily bedridden after an injury, never leaving her side. Cassidy resides with his active Husky brother Balto, blind brother Pug Baby, deaf sister Maltese Lollypop, and a duck named Lilly who has difficulty walking. This is one of the happiest loving group of animals you could ever meet!
Cassidy shows us what a wonderful life a “differently abled” dog can have. Almost all tripod (3 legged dogs) do very well both physically and emotionally. While removal of a limb is a big-deal operation, most dogs are up and walking without assistance within 12 to 24 hours. Bone cancer and accidents are the most common reasons why a dog needs a leg amputated. Being a dog, Cassidy does not have body image issues to deal with. It’s advisable to keep a tripod dog at the proper weight, as excess weight can put a strain on the remaining limbs.
Care needs to be taken to avoid sprains and additional injuries. Physical therapy, including swimming, can help a new tripod build up the strength in his remaining limbs and improve balance. Most tripods easily navigate stairs, but supervise initially to ensure he can do so safely. There is a huge website and online community devoted to tripod dogs at www.Tripawds.com and a You Tube channel called Tripawds.
Cassidy and his crew send a message to give animals with “special needs” a second chance, be they seniors, fearful, or disabled. Cassidy lives in the moment, showing us humans how to overcome whatever challenges we may face, and move beyond them to a better life.
Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in the Inland Empire with animals for adoption. You can view most of their animals online in advance of calling. If you cannot adopt right now, consider making a donation to one of the private rescues that rely on those funds.
COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – This large county shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. You can view the animals at all 4 Riverside county shelters at www.rcdas.org, and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Email them with the animal’s ID number at firstname.lastname@example.org and call (760) 343-3644. Located at 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms. (Public)
PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday, closed on Tuesday. View their animals online at www.psanimalsshelter.org, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)
ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. View their animals at www.animalsamaritans.org. Email email@example.com to foster. Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918. (Private)
CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert. View their animals at www.californiapawsrescue.com, (760) 656-8833. (Private)
HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt a dog or cat. View their animals at www.orphanpet.com. Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203. (Private)
KITTYLAND – The shelter is closed so call for an appointment to adopt a cat. Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs, www.kittylandrescue.org, (760) 251-2700. (Private)
FOREVER MEOW – Foster based rescue for cats located in Rancho Mirage. Contact them through website www.ForeverMeow.org, or call (760) 335-6767. (Private)
LOVING ALL ANIMALS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella, www.lovingallanimals.org, (760) 834-7000. (Private)
MORONGO BASIN HUMANE SOCIETY – Located at 4646 Sun View Rd, Joshua Tree, www.mbhumanesociety.com, call between 11am-4pm for updates (760) 366-3786 (Private)
CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday thru Sat. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” for website to view animals and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet. Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER AT DEVORE – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Call (909) 386-9280 daily between 9am & 5pm. View animals at www.sbcounty.gov/acc and get the ID number of animal you want to meet. Located at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino (Public).
DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/San Bernardino area. Contact them through website www.DreamTeamangelsrescue.com, (360) 688-8884. (Private