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Paralyzed puppy Genie abandoned, saved, now in need of new home

Genie, a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix, was dropped off at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay when her owner could no longer afford to care for her. She will soon be fitted with a custom-made wheelchair.
Genie, a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix, was dropped off at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay when her owner could no longer afford to care for her. She will soon be fitted with a custom-made wheelchair.
Published May 13, 2016

TAMPA

A paralyzed pup left on the front steps of Tampa Bay's Humane Society is getting a second chance at life, a state-of-the-art doggie wheelchair and, hopefully, a new home.

A Humane Society worker found the 2-year-old Chihuahua mix alone and afraid inside a crate early last week. The only thing with her was a note, stating her name was Genie and that she was in dire need of care.

"Please help my Genie," the anonymous owner wrote. "(She) is paralyzed from, I believe, her hips to her hind legs … I ask that the Animal Health Center heal her and find her a loving forever home."

This week the shelter announced Genie would soon be ready for a new family. But not before she's fitted with a custom-made set of wheels, said Nash McCutchen, the group's marketing coordinator.

Genie has big brown eyes, mixed brown hair and a slightly crooked smile. The end of her torso is skinny and her back legs limp.

But McCutchen and others saw a spark in the persistent puppy Wednesday, when Genie took a set of temporary wheels for a spin.

"When she first came to us she was obviously nervous and afraid and had no idea what was going on," McCutchen said. "But with the wheels she seems to have come out of her shell … We think that probably the sense of freedom and ability to get around now is helping her feel better."

She approaches people, loves treats and wears little bows above her ears.

The Humane Society has been regularly updating its Facebook and blog about Genie's recovery. A company from Massachusetts saw Genie's story online and offered to donate the custom-made wheels. They'll be shipped out by May 20, McCutchen said. People from all over the country have asked to adopt Genie, but the group is hoping to keep her local. It's tough to find the right owner for a special-needs dog that requires monthly medications for the rest of her life, McCutchen said.

A surgeon diagnosed Genie with a herniated disk, but her bones have calcified. A procedure would be risky and painful.

Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.