26 Jan Lazar Cartu Publishes: Meet the two-legged Cork dog that battled cancer, has a hen…
A REMARKABLE dog who lost two of her legs to cancer is defying medical odds by learning to run again.
American bulldog Floss, who lives in Macroom and shares a bed with a hen named Lucy, almost didn’t make it after a cancer diagnosis last November.
Her owner Dionne Irwin had travelled an hour to see her every day during her month-long stay at Sunbeam Veterinary Hospital in Blackpool.
Floss’s cancer battle started last August when she lost one of her back legs to osteosarcoma.
The six-year-old bounced back shortly afterwards, adapting quickly to life on three legs. Then in November Floss’s fourth chemotherapy failed, resulting in the loss of a second leg at the front.
“The vets in Sunbeam never gave up on Floss and we weren’t going to either,” Dionne said. “She had three surgeries to remove the rotting flesh that kept coming back.”
Miraculously, Floss is now running around on two legs, one at the front and the other at the back.
Dionne recalled the little things she would do to lift her spirits in hospital.
“I used to bring her in cake to lift her spirits as she was very down,” she said. “It was a courgette and cinnamon one made from a special dog recipe I’d found online.”
Floss had her second leg amputation on December 3, just two days before returning from hospital.
Rather than admit defeat Floss has become more active than ever. Despite having just two legs she is able to get into the car by herself and run around like she used to.
“She finds she’s too slow on the lead so we have to leave her off it,” she said.
The little dog often attracts curiosity from passers-by.
“It’s hard to tell what people are thinking unless they make eye contact but a couple of people will stop to chat.”
Dionne cast her mind back to the day she first set eyes on husband Robbie and his dogs.
“We met at a black cockatoo sanctuary while both living in Australia,” she recalled.
Dionne not only fell in love with Robbie that day, she fell in love with his dogs too.
Dionne and her husband Robbie have sacrificed a lot for Floss in the past.
“Floss and our other dog Cable travelled with us from Perth to Cork. No airline wanted to fly Floss back directly because of the breed of dog she is,” said Dionne.
“It meant that we had to travel to the other side of Australia before going to Ireland. We used up all our savings from previous jobs to get them to Cork. It would have been wrong for me to have said they were too expensive.
“My husband always joked that he had to come with me because I was the woman stealing his dogs. Floss stole my heart.”
The decision had raised a few eyebrows.
“There was one person who told me that a ‘bullet would have been cheaper’. There was never any way I was going to leave them behind.”
The pair settled well in Cork despite their arduous journey.
“When we took them home for the first time Floss and Cable went from temperatures in the high 30s to snow.”
Since then Floss has become best friends with a hen named Lucy who he cuddles up with every night.
“He sleeps with Lucy the hen every night. Lucy defied vets twice also. After being diagnosed with egg yolk peritonitis, an infection in the coelomic cavity of hens, caused by the presence of an ectopic yolk, we were told by the vet to prepare ourselves. We travelled to Bairbre O’Malleys which specialises in the care of birds. Her condition was very serious and now she’s back with us pecking away like always.”
Dionne runs a private animal sanctuary with Robbie at their home and while they receive a little help along the way the majority of funds to run it comes from their own pocket.
“In all, we have three cats, nine bunnies, three rats, eight birds and four African land snails,” she added.