WESTPORT (CBS) – A face wash is good medicine for 6-year-old Rocco Reed. Cerebral palsy has made it a struggle for Rocco to walk, despite crutches, surgery, and special braces.
But when he visits Atlantic Prosthetics and Orthotics in Westport these days, he and other patients are greeted by his new best friend, Callie Mae, an 8-year-old black lab who just learned to walk again — on three legs.
“It’s a fun thing to watch them interact,” says Bob Easterbrooks, owner of Atlantic Prosthetics.
“If you ask Rocco, he doesn’t realize that he is any different than anyone else so he doesn’t see her missing the leg,” says Lydia Reed, Rocco’s mom.
When Callie Mae’s last owner surrendered her to the MSPCA for adoption back in October, her left front leg was so badly nerve damaged that veterinarians had to amputate it.
“They called me the week after she had surgery,” said Kathleen Easterbrooks. “I met her and I took her home that day.”
Won over by Callie’s loving and tolerant personality, the Easterbrooks felt certain this castaway would make the perfect comfort dog for their patients.
“Dogs just sort of accept people as they are no matter what,” Bob says.
Callie has quickly taken ownership of the place, building on the bond she shares with folks arriving for sometimes arduous therapy, especially fellow amputees.
“They’ll come in they’ll sit down and she’ll go right underneath their artificial limb and lift it up,” Kathleen says.
She might beg them to toss the ball or simply flop at their feet, sending a very clear three-legged message that they will get through this together.