Two Three-Legged Dogs, One a Therapy Pup and One an Avid Runner, Adopted Into Same Family

They have six legs between the two of them, but they’ve also got an award-winning therapy dog history and some pretty impressive sprint speeds that can put Olympians to shame.

Pippa and Jeanie are two three-legged dogs that live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Pippa, who’s just shy of nine-years-old, lost her back leg due to a car accident, while 16-year-old Jeanie had a deformed front leg removed as a puppy. Though they were adopted many years apart, they ended up in the same family, a family that hadn’t necessarily planned to end up with two tripods.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / LYDIA CROCHET

It all started in 2007 when their human mom, Lydia Crochet, went to an animal shelter with a friend who was looking for a dog. She’d already seen an ad for Jeanie, and she couldn’t help but ask to see her. When she did, it was love at first sight. She just had one hurdle to overcome: convincing her husband they needed a third dog. It was a few days before Jeanie could be taken home, so she had a little time.

Crochet explains, “I didn’t tell my husband anything. I knew I had a few days to go home and cushion that and prepare, and I kind of mentioned it a couple times and he was not keen on getting another dog. So I thought maybe I had made a horrible mistake, but I even had a friend lined up that said… ‘Oh, I’ll take her if it doesn’t go well.’

“I still hadn’t told him, and she was ready to go. They called me… and I went and picked her up, and when we got in my car, that song ‘Little Jeannie’ by Elton John was playing. And so I figured that would be her name and brought her home. And I just kind of put her down when we walked in the front door and she hobbled right over to my husband, and he was like, ‘Well, hello.’ She was just so cute. I don’t think he could say no. So that’s how we ended up with Jeanie.”

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / LYDIA CROCHET

That irresistible nature served her well four years later, when it was suggested that Jeanie become a therapy dog because of her sweet demeanor. When she was tested, she passed with flying colors, and in a sign that she had gone down the right path, this little pup who was missing a front right arm met up with a human named Jeanie during her first therapy visit at a hospital. This Jeanie? She had fallen and broken her right arm.

Crochet says, “Our very first patient, so I kind of knew that we were on the right path. That was kind of confirmation for me.”

Dog Jeanie went on to be very popular with amputees, as well as veterans and kids, over the next 11 years as a therapy dog. Before her retirement in December 2022, she had done numerous visits to her area veterans’ home, hospitals, and her local library as part of a program called Fun with Fido, where kids read to dogs. Another special spot she volunteered with was the Children’s Advocacy Center, where children who have witnessed or been the victims of crimes can speak with law enforcement in a more comfortable setting.

Crochet says, “That way they don’t bring them to the police station, where it’s kind of stuffy or scary. They can relax at the advocacy center, and the therapy dogs would come one at a time, and we make an appointment and just kind of hang out with the kids for a little while before they’re interviewed, and after, and just let them relax and play. And then sometimes it does motivate the child to speak a little more freely… That was one of Jeanie’s favorite places, too. And she knew when we walked in the room that it was just going to be a good deal for her.”

Because so many of her visits involved children, Crochet wrote a children’s book about Jeanie and her life as a therapy dog. “Jeanie the Three-Legged Dog: I Don’t Need Four Feet!”, which is available to buy here, helped the kids that Jeanie visited better understand her story. What started as a gift to some of these kids expanded, with book readings across plenty of schools and libraries. A portion of the proceeds also go to rescues in Southwest Louisiana. This already special project ended up leading to something even more special, though.

When Crochet was in New Orleans doing a book signing in 2016, she caught wind of the story of a local three-legged shelter dog who had been involved a car accident. Someone had forwarded the information to her to see if she could promote it, as someone who also had a tripod dog. She found herself not wanting to share, though, because she herself was interested.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / LYDIA CROCHET

Pippa was walking around with a wrapped leg when she was spotted by a good Samaritan, who brought her into a rescue in downtown New Orleans. Once she arrived, her leg had to be removed and she underwent treatment for severe road rash. It took months until she could be adopted, but Crochet showed up at the right time to meet her.

She says, “My husband knew. He said, ‘Well, if you go by there and look at the dog, I know we’re bringing it home.’ And that’s exactly what happened. We met her and it was kind of love at first sight. We weren’t sure about her because she was rambunctious, even with scars and stitches and everything else this poor little dog had gone through. One of the ladies I was in contact with at the rescue did tell me that this dog is exceptional. She plays with the big dogs and likes to roughhouse, tries to flip them over with her little nose and gets under their torso and flips them over. So we met her and I just knew I had to have her, so we didn’t really set out to get two three-legged dogs, but it just kind of happened that way. I’m so glad it did.”

Pippa’s rambunctiousness continues to this day, as she loves running. The little speedster can be seen running in several videos on the Instagram account she and Jeanie share. Because she’s so fast and people unfamiliar with her story don’t realize she’s missing a back leg, Crochet says people often think that she’s taunting three-legged Jeanie in videos that involve her darting around her fur sister. No, she’s just so quick no one – including Pippa – seems to notice there’s any missing limb. The ducks on her property may have caught on, though, as they’re always flying away to get away from this excitable pooch who wants to see what they’re up to.

Jeanie and Pippa – who Crochet says have been remarkably adaptable to their physical differences – have teamed up to fill a big part of their humans’ hearts.

Crochet explains, “My husband and I talk about it all the time. We don’t know what we would do without them. 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.”

One of the things they’ve added is a new group of dog friends. In 2019, Jeanie won the American Humane Hero Dog Award in the therapy pet category. The ceremony also gives awards to dogs in other areas, including first responder, military, and service dogs. When the ceremony was held and all the dogs and their people got to meet, strong bonds were formed, and the group still keeps in touch to this day. They could be talking about meeting certain celebrities as a result of the award, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Hoda Kotb, and Kristin Chenoweth, who all spent time with Jeanie.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / LYDIA CROCHET

Celebrity perks aside, Crochet hopes Jeanie’s story inspires other people to look into pet therapy, if they have the time to volunteer and their dog has the right temperament for it. She also encourages people to look into those dogs that are a bit different.

She says, “I think the the best advice I can give people is to seek out a dog that has special needs because they’re always the last to get adopted. And we weren’t sure what we were getting into by adopting the first dog with three legs, but it worked out… The satisfaction you get just by knowing that that dog will be saved and will 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.”

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM / LYDIA CROCHET

To keep up with Jeanie and Pippa’s adventures, be sure to follow them on Instagram! You can also hear more of their story in the video below.

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