Dog Fabio heads to New Orleans for help with walking

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Four-year-old Fabio, a Maltese, is moving around Monday afternoon like he does most days, slowly but surely. But starting tomorrow, Fabio's life will likely change forever; for the better.

"Fabio will fly to New Orleans and he will be examined by Dr. Allison Barca.  She's put together of team of specialists to examine him," said Joani Ellis of Florida Poodle Rescue.

His back legs hacked off just below the joint by someone who didn't want him to jump over a backyard fence, Fabio has adapted and gets by at his own speed.

"Fabio does not need us.  Fabio's making it on his own.  We're just going to try to make it better for him," said Dr. Barca by phone from New Orleans.

Dr. Barca was part of a group that outfitted Molly the Shetland pony with a prosthetic leg after Hurricane Katrina.  Barca says there's several avenues of help to explore when it comes to Fabio.

"I just think he needs something to help the stumps to feel comfortable as they remodel through life and to keep them protected from hitting the ground.  The two little booties are not going to match. In other words, you just can't order a set of boots that are going to strap to his legs.  They're going to have to be altered to fit this little dog individually," explained Barca.

Fabio will also spend time at Dag's House, a rehab home for dogs with physical challenges.  Some of those dogs have even walked in second-line parades in the Big Easy.

"I would love to be waving a handkerchief and following Fabio in a second-line parade, that would be my dream," Ellis said.

Big plans for such a small dog who once faced some pretty tough odds.

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