A Dog with a Difference

A Dog with a Difference

When one couple decided to find a small, quiet dog to adopt they pretty much ended up with the exact opposite. However, they could not be happier and share a tale of how looks can be deceiving.

Shibani Talashilkar is looking down at the big, black dog adoringly sleeping at her feet, and laughing, “I don’t know how this happened”. The dog in question is a long shot from the “small to mid-sized dog” she and her husband Garry Febey had in mind when looking for a pet to adopt.

The architect decided to volunteer at Anima and devote time with the dogs there to both help out and also to find the right one to bring home. Shibani would spend her afternoons grooming the dogs and undertaking general chores, starting in one pen and working her way along, always saving one particular dog for last, because he “was the quietest one”. The timing would also coincide with Garry’s arrival to come pick her up at the end of the day, so together they spent time with this dog that would later form part of their family.
Looking at the three of them together it’s easy to see how adopting Jumpy was an obvious decision for them. But many people may be surprised at this somewhat unusual choice, for Jumpy is not ordinary dog. This big all black, shorthaired German Shepard has three legs.

Garry, a Senior Project Manager in the construction industry, explains that Jumpy is probably three and a half years of age, and was found in a construction yard in Taipa, with a badly damaged front leg. To this day no one knows with certainty what happened, but it was either a serious infection or gangrene, and a vet in Taipa performed the amputation, without which Jumpy would have died.
Ironically enough, it is exactly because of Jumpy’s missing leg that he ended up with the couple he did- Garry and Shibani knew that keeping up with a dog that size would only be possible with Jumpy because his energy levels are not as demanding as they would have been in a dog that size, had he all four legs. Living in a spacious apartment and taking him for three walks a day meets his needs- and theirs.
The couple are convinced that Jumpy was someone’s pet in the past, the way he instinctively knew how to get in and out of lifts and was housetrained are all indicative of a dog that was looked after and cared for, to some extent, in the past. Their theory is that Jumpy fell victim to “doggie fashion” where his owner liked the look of him as a puppy, but he then grew too big, or where certain breeds are trendy at a certain point in time, but soon fall out of fashion- an unfortunate reality that happens all over the world.

dogtale2Today, at 42Kg, with a shiny black coat and a wagging tail, it is hard to imagine Jumpy as being anything but a well loved dog. Two meals a day and a snack in the morning before Shibani goes to work, usually a raw chicken wing (the bones are easier to digest when not cooked) or anything “that stinks” such as dried fish, are what keep him in tip top shape. Although a teeny weeny diet wouldn’t hurt too much, according to his owners and the vet.
How do people react to Jumpy on the streets? He gets mixed reactions. “I think a lot of people don’t expect to see a three-legged dog”, says Garry, “I think they are amused”. He elaborates, “You get young girls running away screaming, to old ladies who want to pat him”. The old ladies with small dogs are the ones Jumpy keeps a particular eye on, as they are the ones who will momentarily push their own tiny dogs aside to offer this big, imposing, yet super friendly, dog the treats they carry in their handbags. “He just hounds those old ladies whenever he sees them”, Shibani laughs.

Jumpy, for all his lovingness, has his fair share of quirks; he is literally a voracious reader. Whilst Shibani loves nothing better than getting stuck into the latest literary success, she never manages to get to the end. “I don’t know what the endings are of these stories I have been reading, I spend weeks getting into a story and then never know what happens”. It turns out that Jumpy has a thing for chewing up the last pages of the books, only the last ones, and just at the right time to miss out on the ending. Ways to unwind and relax from the exhausting book chewing frenzy include watching TV; dog shows in particular take his fancy.

For all the hard knocks Jumpy endured over the course of his early life, he has never lost sense of what is right and wrong. Or kindness. His calm demeanor means that he is not only good with other dogs, but he is also good at resolving disputes. “He is good at fixing squabbles, he just walks in and sorts out the perpetrator”, Shibani says looking proudly at the dog sitting by her side.