Seth Greer, Foreman at the Double TT Ranch, told KODE, "Jake is a cow dog. He works our cows for us. Sometimes gets in the way, but he helps. Couple of years ago he got hit by a car. That's how he lost his leg, but he still does everything just as he used to. He walks around, runs and helps us work the cows. He's a good old boy." For some owners of seriously injured animals, the decision to allow their pets to be euthanized after a crippling accident is simply not an option. Veterinarians say most animal amputees recover completely; though they may need a little time to adjust. "Jake's injury doesn't effect him much. It doesn't hurt him. He goes all over the place and does everything 'normal dogs' do", Seth told us. For working dogs like Jake, losing a leg doesn't have to mean he'll also lose his job on the ranch because he can't keep up.
Dr. Ben Leavens, Veterinarian at Main Street Pet Care in Joplin agrees, "The working dog, it depends on what kind of work they do, but there's that initial adaptation that they have to make. Then, once they get through that, animals have an amazing ability to compensate." One of Jake's fellow ranch-dogs lost his hearing awhile back, and his owners say they had trouble communicating simple commands when the dog was working the cattle herd. Dr. Leavens has seen this before in working animals, "Deafness is a serious problem, allot of times, for working dogs. A working dog that's lost their hearing, unlike losing a leg, you have to find another way to get input. They have to learn to operate just on hand signals, or wear a vibrating collar to receive signals from their owner."
For Jake, losing a leg hasn't been as difficult to overcome. "I think if Jake could do anything he wanted, he'd probably enjoy just laying in the sun, or chasing things. Chase cars; that's what he'd do. Chase cows and bark at all the time", Seth said. Animal disabilities sometimes lead to untreatable complications and euthanasia, but Veterinarians say most pets with special needs live normal lives and are just as active as they ever were, though some owners may need to modify their pet's environment to limit the possibility of reinjury. "I think he's going to be the same if he has all four of his legs or not", Seth smiled, "He's going to be the same old Jake. And he's had a good life, I think."