(FRISCO, Texas) — Moose and Maverick are typical rambunctious puppies. They like to play, bark and lick as much as the next dog. They’re thriving even though they both have only two legs.
The puppies were abandoned in March, just hours after they were born. The local rescue coordinator called Dr. Erin Shults, a veterinarian in Frisco, Texas who heads a non-profit animal welfare organization called Mazie’s Mission.
“I got the call that someone had dumped a mother and three babies. Two of them only had two legs,” Shults said. “I wasn’t really sure then that the two-legged dogs would survive or have a good quality of life, but I was willing to give it a shot.”
Shults took the pair of two-legged pups in as her personal pets and began training them to work as therapy dogs, going to shelters and assisted living centers to visit patients.
“They’ve done a lot of therapy and they’ve been just great with that,” Shults said. “They are such fantastic therapy dogs.”
So well that most people they visit don’t even realize Moose and Maverick only have two legs.
“When I take them to assisted living centers, people don’t even notice right away since they act so normal,” Shults said. “People don’t even realize. I mean, they’re both completely mobile and you can’t even tell when they’re sitting in someone’s lap.”
Moose and Maverick even walk like other dogs, as if they had all four legs.
“I always say it’s like they’re walking like a kangaroo or a T. rex,” Shults said. “They barely get off the ground.”
Shults had wondered how they would do.
“I was thinking I’d have to teach them to walk on their back legs, like humans. I thought they’d just slide on their stomachs if not. But I was wrong … way wrong,” Shults said. “They are very content moving that way so I’m not going to press them. I’m letting them walk how they want to.”
Shults says Moose and Maverick, like other dogs, have their own distinct personalities.
“Moose is very laid back. He’s very calm and just wants to hang out and sit on your lap,” she said. “While Maverick is very active. He’s mischievous and likes to get in trouble. They’re polar opposites.”
Shults is hoping that the pair can use their disability to inspire others.
“I’m trying to get them to be therapy dogs for amputees,” she said. “They’d be able to teach people. They have no idea they’re different from other dogs. Nothing gets them down.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, CNN
Cimaron Neugebauer, KUTV
Sarah Stewart, KFOR
Patrick Gillespie, CNN