In the twilight tranquility of Lake Charles, Louisiana, a family with a penchant for canine heroes with a trio of legs chronicle their remarkable journey. Set your sights on Pippa and Jeanie, two three-legged, whirling dervishes who, despite their physical shortcomings, have left indelible paw prints on the world stage. With a resume boasting therapy dog credentials and a dash of Olympian speed, this spirited duo encapsulates their story in a video as enchanting as their lives.
The saga begins in 2007, a year forever etched in the annals of Lydia Crochet’s memory. Accompanying a friend to an animal shelter, Lydia’s eye fell upon an advertisement showcasing Jeanie, a dog with a malformed front leg. A symphony of affection rang out the moment Lydia locked eyes with Jeanie. Still, the significant task remained of persuading her husband to welcome a third canine into their home. With just a few days until Jeanie could be adopted, Lydia crafted a delicate scheme of slow revelation and potential backup plans.
Lydia recounts, “Under a cloak of secrecy, I kept my intentions from my husband. With a few days to spare, I gently introduced the idea of another dog to him, only to be met with hesitation. I even arranged with a friend to adopt Jeanie if my plans fell through. However, the day arrived when Jeanie was ready to leave the shelter. As we drove home, Elton John’s ‘Little Jeannie’ playing on the radio, I decided on her name. When we arrived home, I let Jeanie hobble over to my husband. Her charm was irresistible; he was smitten. And that’s how Jeanie became a part of our family.”
Jeanie’s charm continued to delight all who encountered her. Four years after joining the Crochet family, a suggestion that Jeanie should become a therapy dog due to her sweet disposition was acted upon. The test results were exemplary, and in an uncanny alignment of fate, Jeanie’s first hospital visit was to a patient named Jeanie, who had recently broken her right arm. A silent acknowledgment that this was indeed the right path for dog Jeanie, who was missing a front right arm.
With her therapeutic prowess, Dog Jeanie became an inspiration for amputees, veterans, and children over the next 11 years. Before her well-deserved retirement in December 2022, she had participated in multiple therapy sessions at veterans’ homes, hospitals, and local libraries. Dog Jeanie also volunteered at the Children’s Advocacy Center, a haven for children victims of crime to interact with law enforcement in a more comforting environment.
Lydia interacted with and authored a children’s book about Jeanie’s life as a therapy dog. The book, “Jeanie the Three-Legged Dog: I Don’t Need Four Feet!” is a learning tool and a fundraising instrument, with part of the proceeds going to animal rescues in Southwest Louisiana.
Yet, this incredible journey was far from over. In 2016, Lydia crossed paths with Pippa, another three-legged dog residing in a shelter in New Orleans after a car accident. Once again, it was love at first sight, and Pippa was part of the Crochet family. Pippa’s lively spirit became a source of joy for Lydia, her husband, and Jeanie. She has an unquenchable passion for running, a compelling sight that onlookers fail to notice her missing leg.
The story of Jeanie and Pippa is a testament to the boundless love and resilience of animals and their remarkable ability to adapt to physical adversity. Lydia said, “Our daughter is grown and married and with a family of her own, and it’s just the two of us, you know, and we love dogs. So they add so much to our lives.”
In 2019, Jeanie was awarded the American Humane Hero Dog Award in the therapy pet category. Through this event, they met a community of like-minded people and dogs and even had the chance to meet celebrities such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hoda Kotb, and Kristin Chenoweth.
But more than the glamour and accolades, Lydia hopes that Jeanie and Pippa’s tales will inspire others to consider adopting special needs dogs. She firmly believes that the rewards far outweigh the challenges, stating, “The satisfaction you get just by knowing that that dog will be saved and have a loving home, whether they’re blind or deaf or missing a leg like mine. I would encourage people to do it. It’s so rewarding to seek out an animal like that.”
To fully appreciate the extraordinary journey of Jeanie and Pippa, more than a mere narrative may be required. It’s a tale best experienced through the visual medium. Watch their captivating video, and if it tugs at your heartstrings, share it, pin it because their story is a testament to resilience, boundless love, and the special bond between humans and dogs that transcends physical limitations. This tale of triumph in the face of adversity deserves to be heard, felt and shared.