By Gary Nelson

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The owner of a 5-year-old Shepard mix is asking for the public’s help to fit her dog with a prosthetic leg following a gator attack.

“We were fishing,” explained Joy Gilpin. “There was a bunch of thrashing and I didn’t realize what was happening ‘til I saw the tail of an alligator.”

Gilpin rushed to her dog’s rescue, pulling Lily Pad from the clutches of the gator.

“I was able to reach right here on her neck and as I yanked her out the alligator was on the leg,” Gilpin said. “She had a battle for her life and she suffered quite bit of damage from it.”

Lily Pad ended up losing part of a leg this past April from the gator bite.

“I am a South Florida native. I’ve seen plenty of alligators. I know they’re there, it’s just you never think it’s going to happen to you,” Gilpin said.

Gilpin works at a veterinary office. She never thought something so life-changing would happen to her dog.

But there’s an upside to this.

“I know she’s three-legged, but she’s got all this love to give and I think she’s a wonderful advocate for kids,” Gilpin said, asking Lily Pad to give a paw handshake. “And she loves attention, can’t you tell?”

Lily Pad is now a certified therapy dog that works with children and vets.

“Give them an idea that you can still be strong even though you’re missing some limbs, you can do so much,” Gilpin said.

Lily Pad still likes to swim in canals and the ocean, but Gilpin watches like a hawk.  Lily Pad also likes to hike with Gilpin but tires easily after walking a lot.

Gilpin is hoping to get Lily Pad fitted with a prosthetic leg. It will help Lily Pad get around better and ward off joint problems later.

That prosthetic limb for Lily Pad is going to cost about $1,800. Keep in mind, Lily Pad is also a therapy dog, so this is going to help a lot of children, as well.

Gilpin started a GoFundMe page if you would like to donate. You can keep up with Lily Pad’s progress on this Facebook page.


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