A Throggs Neck couple has opened their home and their hearts to a group of dogs that are easy to love despite some physical challenges.
Mary and Tom Fayet adopted and became the caretakers of five dogs that require front or rear wheelchairs to remain mobile, over the past several years.
They are known as animal rescuers with experience working with dogs who have disabilities and non-functional or weak front or hind legs.
It all began with Lexi, who’s known by more than 20,000 Instagram followers.
She’s a Maltese Pekingese mix breed dog whose front legs don’t function but is nevertheless a rock star of a pooch with the pet lovers who follow her website littl
A few years ago, her original family put her up for adoption on Craigslist, which often doesn’t work out well for animals, Mary said.
She decided to adopt her and train her to walk, no easy task since dogs often steer themselves with their front legs, she said.
“Her family loved her – they just didn’t know how to take care of her,” she said, adding that she trained Lexi to walk by taking her to work and having her navigate through the crowded streets of Herald and Times squares in Manhattan.
Lexi is a therapy dog with the Good Dog Foundation and has been used extensively at Manhattan’s VA hospital in this role when her owner is able, said Mary.
After rescuing Lexi, who was born in 2013, the Fayet’s adopted Tomek, a dog whose rear legs were disabled in a hunting accident in his native Poland in 2015.
Tomek, Polish for Thomas, was described by his owners as a true mixture or a “Heinz 57 of a dog.”
He uses his front legs well and like two of Fayet’s other dogs, uses a rear leg wheelchair, and oftentimes wears a doggie diaper, which is common for canines whose rear legs are disabled and can complicate adoptions.
Then came Mr. Boojangels, who appeared on Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl television program and is a Poodle Pug Shih Tzu mixture who is currently up for adoption, Mary said.
“We named him Mr. Boojangels because when he gets excited, his little feet look like they are dancing,” she said.
Tobi, who became the fourth member of the pack, is a very strong dog who is a five years old and is a French Bulldog Shih Tzu mix, said his owners.
He had a hunch back because he was constantly standing and trying to walk on his hind legs, but the wheelchair straighted out his back, said Tom.
After placing him in a chair, he was able to learn how to walk, and now lives in a much more stimulating environment, his family said.
Candy, the newest addition, a Maltese, would have been euthanized at a Brooklyn shelter had she not been adopted. Rear leg amputations didn’t prevent Candy, as well as Lexi, who is described by Mary as a ‘diva’, from appearing on a Netflix series called ‘Dogs,’ in an episode about rescue animals.
“We have had people come up to us teary-eyed, telling us that if they knew about these wheelchairs, they would still have their dogs,” she said, adding that the main thing to know is that “you don’t have to give up your dog, there are options.”