New home set to welcome Octopus, the six-pawed pup

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2007, 12:00am

A puppy born with six paws has been given a new start in life after his plight captured the hearts of Sunday Morning Post readers.

The six-week-old mongrel, affectionately nicknamed Octopus by animal clinic staff, was spared a lethal injection by Hong Kong Dog Rescue and has been offered a home by reader Isabella Gaggino after being featured in the Post last weekend.

Ironically, however, Octopus' five healthy siblings rescued from government kennels at the same time have all died of a virus that spread between them after Octopus was taken away for surgery.

He still needs treatment for tick fever and then surgery on his deformed front legs - probably involving the amputation of one of the legs - before he can go to his new home.

Octopus has a rare condition in which, because of deformed elbow joints, the two bones of his forelegs have grown apart and a separate paw has grown on the end of each bone, giving him four front paws.

A donor moved by his condition offered to pay for his surgery, and vet Stephan Lehner of Chris and Nicola's Animal Hospital in Tin Hau is consulting international experts on how best to treat the condition.

Dog Rescue founder Sally Andersen received two offers of homes for Octopus and has agreed to send him to Ms Gaggino.

Ms Gaggino, who lives in a house in Yuen Long and has eight other dogs, said: 'I read the paper and saw the story about this poor little dog with six paws ... I rang up Sally and told her, 'I want to give him a home'.'

Ms Gaggino, a chef, said she would rename Octopus 'Tigger' because of his tiger stripes.

She promised he would get regular gourmet meals and a large garden to play in with her other dogs.

Ms Gaggino said she used to care for another dog with an amputated leg.

'Every one of my dogs is a sad little story. But they are happy dogs and they make me happy when I come home to see their eager little faces.'

Ms Gaggino said she wanted to visit Octopus but had decided to wait until his treatment was completed and he was ready to leave the vets.

Ms Andersen said many more dogs needed homes at a time when the number of abandoned pets was rising sharply.

Anyone who wants to find out more about abandoned dogs looking for homes can email Hong Kong Dog Rescue at hongkongdogrescue@