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Kanga of New Jersey

Kanga with her owners John and Mary Rudder and her Vet, Dr. Joseph Martins

Born with only two legs, little Kanga has beaten the odds. Many animals that are born this way are normally euthanized, but the Chihuahua was rescued from the Philadelphia shelter system by Animal Alliance of New Jersey. She was fostered by Mary and John Rudder of Branchburg, NJ, who fell in love with the lovable little dog and decided to make her a part of their family.

Kanga is now a certified therapy dog through the Bright and Beautiful organization. During the time of her test, the evaluators suggested modifying the testing requirements in order to accommodate her disability, but to everyone's amazement, Kanga passed almost all of the sections under the standard test. The lovable little canine enjoys visiting senior citizen homes, hospitals and to local libraries where she listens to children read. She loves to visit local schools to help children learn about differences, tolerance and empathy.

When she first went to live with the Rudders they wanted to give her better mobility so they had a special wheeled cart made just for her. Kanga did not like the cart much and preferred to hop and move around on her own. When she visits schools, she loves to strut her stuff by dancing to her favorite song, LaBamba.

"When I first met Kanga, I was surprised that she survived the shelter process," explains Veterinarian, Dr. Joseph Martins. "Then as a person and a veterinarian, I felt bad for her actually. Then when I got to know the Rudders and I got to know Kanga, I got to spend some time with her; she's actually a really courageous, really strong little animal. She's like a little person with a really big story to tell. So I don't feel sorry for her anymore."

Despite her disability, Kanga lives a very full and active life. Her positive impact on people and other animals was noted when she was inducted into the New Jersey Animal Hall of Fame. She was nominated by her vet, Dr. Martins of Belle Mead Animal Hospital in Hillsborough, NJ. "Kanga is just amazing to us, both my husband and I," says the proud Mary Rudder. "How she affects other people and where she goes, I learn from her almost every day (by) what she does and what she has overcome and how she gives back. So many people say to us 'how good it was to rescue a dog and then rescue a dog that has a disability,' and I'm like, oh no, it's the other way around. We've been given so much, she's such a precious little gift."