In 2006, Christy Gardner's life changed forever. She was a military police officer working overseas when she suffered severe injuries that required both of her legs to be amputated. Adjusting to her new way of life was far from easy, and it left her feeling dejected and worried about her future. She was struggling, but then her doctor recommended getting a service dog. Service dogs are trained to assist with physical tasks, and they also do wonders for a person's emotional well-being. Christy decided to give it a try, and she was paired with a Golden Retriever named Moxie in 2010.
Moxie was trained with an organization called K9s For Warriors in Ponte Vedra, Florida. She knows how to help stabilize Christy when she needs to balance and can also assist with simple tasks both at home and in public. From the first day they were together, Christy knew Moxie would yet again change her life, but this time, it was a change she was looking forward to.
Christy told People,
"Now, I can't imagine getting through a day without her. She motivates me to stay active and healthy, going for extra walks and forcing me to keep my muscles moving and my weight down, as well as helping with simple tasks."
In addition to physical assistance, Moxie was the inspiration Christy needed to move past her injuries. Instead of feeling worried and lacking confidence, Christy went on to become a para-athlete. She now competes with the U.S. Women's Sled Hockey team, and she doesn't let her disability hold her back.
Moxie ended up being exactly what Christy needed, and after years of friendship, Christy decided it was time to pay it forward. She wanted to help others in need, and she knew from first-hand experience the healing powers of a dog. So when she met a tiny puppy with a disability that required one of his legs to be amputated, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She was going to love that puppy and train him to help as many people as possible.
The puppy, named Lucky, was born with missing wrist bones in his right front leg. His leg needed to be amputated, and Christy knew all too well what kind of adjustment that would mean for her new canine friend. She helped Lucky through his surgery and long recovery. Thankfully, little Lucky learned how to live his life on three legs, and he's thriving in his new home with Christy and Moxie.
Now that Lucky is healed, he's being trained as a therapy dog. Christy's goal is to one day have Lucky work in schools to help all kinds of children, including those with disabilities. She wants Lucky to be an inspiration to anyone who has to face the challenge of a missing limb or any other type of disability. She wants Lucky to show people that anything is possible, and so far, that's exactly what he's doing.
Lucky is still being trained, but he's healing hearts everywhere he goes. He goes to baseball games, and he even went ice fishing. Last week he took his first plane ride to attend the K9s on the Frontline inaugural gala, and he's already met plenty of school children. He's well on his way to being a great therapy dog, and we can't wait to see the positive impact he makes in the future.
Lucky even has his own Facebook, so you can keep up with his training. Check it out!
All photos via Facebook/Little Guy, BIG Mission