RITA LEBLEU, American Press
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Jeanie the three-legged dog is the oldest therapy dog in the Lake Charles area and perhaps the most famous.
She was flown to Hollywood after winning a national pet therapy award in 2019. She has appeared in television commercials, on the Hallmark Channel and Access Hollywood shows, and on The Today Show. They have also been featured in People, Woman’s World, and pet magazines.
She did the cover of the Dogs On Instagram calendar and has been on a Petco calendar. She played Sandy in a local production of the Broadway play Annie, and local artist Candace Alexander included Jeanie in the mural on the south perimeter wall of her Ryan Street studio.
“She was actually invited to the governor’s mansion at the request of the first lady, Donna Edwards,” said her wife, Lydia Crochet, who celebrated her birthday alongside Jeanie on March 27.
Crochet didn’t reveal her age, but Jeanie, a Pomeranian-Yorkie-Poodle-Papillon mix, is now 15 years old.
“She met the first dog and was served baked dog biscuits that smelled so good I think some of the staff actually ate some. There is a beautiful rose garden at the mansion and Jeanie has fertilized it. She peed when she was on The Today Show, but not on Hoda (Kotb). She loved every second of that hug and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. She had a pretty short life.”
Since her adoption, Jeanie has been a source of inspiration, comfort and joy to fellow amputees, veterans, victims of sexual abuse, the elderly in nursing homes, young people wishing for a dog at home, and the sick in hospitals.
“In the library, kids are reading to Jeanie and the other therapy dogs, and the dogs seem really interested,” Crochet said with a chuckle.
Jeanie is the main character in two children’s books: Jeanie the Three-Legged Dog and Jeanie the Three-Legged Dog: I Don’t Need Four Feet. Proceeds will be donated to support local rescue efforts.
When the governor ordered the COVID stay-at-home order, Jeanie’s therapy visits ground to a halt. Later that same year, Jeanie was diagnosed with cancer. dr Martha Briley, her vet, sent her to an oncologist. Because Jeanie is “advanced in age,” the specialist told Crochet that the surgery posed a significant risk.
“She survived the surgery,” Crochet said. “She beat cancer.”
Jeanie’s only front leg went out on her last fall. Because of her age, she had developed arthritis. Since she only had three legs and had to compensate with movement technology, several intervertebral discs were in poor condition. Crochet has been informed by specialists that Jeanie may never walk again.
“I carried it around like a hot new handbag,” she said.
Crochet’s home was set up to accommodate a disabled Jeanie.
“After three months of rehabilitation, she’s walking,” Crochet said.
Although semi-retired and mostly out and about in her stroller, Jeanie continues to fulfill her role as a therapy dog. Recent challenges have only made her story of surviving and thriving against all odds all the more compelling.
“Jeanie is part of Dr. Dogs, a group here in Lake Charles,” Crochet said. “There are many dogs in the group. All are volunteers.”
“About 15 years ago she was walking around the Bell City, Hayes area with a pack of strays,” Crochet said. “An employee of Dr. She had seen Stark’s office a few times and was eventually able to capture her and bring her to the vet’s office.”
Jeanie was examined and found to be about five months old. Her deformed and crippled leg was amputated and she was listed for adoption online. Crochet wasn’t in the market to take on a rescue. The family already had two dogs. Her husband repeated: no new pets. Under the pretense of helping a friend find a rescue, Crochet met Jeanie.
“I knew right away that I had to have this dog,” she said. “I adopted her on the spot. When I got to my car, I turned on the radio. Elton John sang Jeanie. Jean is my middle name and my birthday was only a month away, on March 27th. It’s also my mother’s birthday, and since I’m Jeanie’s mother…”
Crochet’s husband was just as taken with Jeanie as his wife.
“He was sitting in a recliner chair about 15 or 20 feet from the front door,” she said. “She walked right up to him and hopped on three legs. I remember him saying, “What the hell?” ”
Crochet replied, “That’s Jeanie.”
Crochet is happy to report that Jeanie’s popularity hasn’t gone to her head.
“She is the most humble, patient and grateful little soul. She understands what my family and I say to her, and in typical celebrity fashion, she doesn’t care what other people say about her. If she could speak, she would instruct you to consult her momager with compliments, rumors or empty gossip,” she said.
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