A Dogged Pursuit of Life in Squamish


By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: March 24, 2015

When David Reid’s aunt needed to go to the hospital, she had nowhere to leave her poodle, Pierre. So, she called David and he took Pierre in. When his friend had to leave town for school, he called Reid and asked if he would be able to adopt his dog, a terrier named Tammy. Reid again said yes.
Years later, when his wife asked if they could rescue a dog from South Korea and give him a new home in Squamish, Reid said yes once again. Blossom was no ordinary dog: she had survived a brutal beating, amputation, and possible euthanasia until fate intervened and brought her to David and Virgina Reid’s home in Valleycliffe.
In early 2013, kids playing in the suburb near Seoul noticed a mesh of blood and flesh on the street. It was a badly-mangled Blossom, half-dead, legs smashed into a pulp. The kids took her to a local vet who called up Eva Anderson, a Finnish woman who had rescued dogs headed to the meat market. The vet told her he would euthanize Blossom, unless she can find someone to adopt the dog. Eva brought her home and later put her up for adoption through a non-profit rescue for dogs called Team Inch she had been running while in Korea. It got its name from a dog that was rescued by the Incheon city pound in South Korea. After treatment, Inch flew to Seattle and now lives with a Team Inch volunteer in Canada.
Virginia Reid was also part of Team Inch, supporting it through occasional donations. Reid saw Blossom on its website. She emailed Eva and offered to adopt Blossom. That was when she asked her husband David and he said yes. It was the summer of 2013 when the Reids took a trip down to Vancouver to welcome the newest member of the family they named Blossom.
Though the long-haired Chihuahua had just two legs, he had travelled thousands of miles. This was a mark of his endless will to survive and extraordinary luck that brought him back from the brink of death. Pets-2
“Blossom came to me just like a wonder,” recalls Anderson in an email. “Before I got her, I had fostered six dogs in Korea. Five bigger dogs, mostly borzois, for an organization called Born to Run When this organization ‘died’, I was a little lost, but got a request from Finland to foster a small, friendly dog for a family that wanted to adopt from Korea. I asked the veterinary I got to know during my time with Born to Run, Dr. Choi. He is a wonder of this world. He treats shelter animals for reduced price. He found me a small, abandoned Maltese to foster. I had her for four months and then travelled with her to her new family in Finland.”
Always after a foster dog had left, Anderson felt lost, and this time was no different. She remembers walking the streets of  Insadong in Seoul, lonely and a little miserable. “That’s when my cellphone rang. It was Dr. Choi. He knew I was without a dog now so he asked if I could consider to foster a small one again. I said, yes, of course, so, so happy,” she says. Dr. Choi told her this was a special case. The dog had one leg amputated and one that refused to heal which needed to be amputated as well. “So, Dr. Choi asked me again if I thought a dog with two legs could have a future. Yes, I said again, not knowing what else to say there on the street among thousands of people, still so happy he asked me,” she says.
Anderson hopped on a train immediately and went to see Miru, which means a little dragon, as Blossom was named at the clinic. “I got to see the tiniest little pup with a bandage bigger than herself on her rear leg. She sat in a little box looking at me with those big, beautiful eyes, and I was so, so happy Dr. Choi asked me. I knew I had seen somewhere on Internet a two-legged dog happily running around. I knew it was possible for a dog to live with only two legs.
The same evening Blossom had her second amputation. I was scared. I thought what on earth I had promised to do. I had no clue,” she says. She asked Dr. Choi what had happened to Blossom but he didn’t answer immediately. She asked again if it was abuse, and he said yes. She simply could not ask anymore. She got medicine to give Blossom twice a day and a request to come back after a while to take the staples away.
“I was alone with Blossom’s pain, with all her scars and fears, so I decided to live in the kitchen with her, not leave her side for one single minute before I knew how she was doing. I soon found out she needed to be held every time the pain ran through her tiny body. She screamed as I had never heard a dog scream before. She tried to escape her body by jumping. I put her under a small glass table and grabbed her every time she was in pain. I knew it must have hurt when I kept her close, but it was the only way I could get her to Seattle down. Every hour at least once she screamed, night and day. Every hour, I took her, held her and became more and more exhausted. I was so destroyed by the thought that someone could abuse a puppy to this condition. What on earth had she been through? I cried at times, and Blossom would lick my tears as the rain ran over the kitchen door. It was raining for days and we survived,” she says.
Slowly, they got to know each other and Anderson could figure out ways to get Blossom on those two legs of hers. “I clearly remember the day Blossom found she had a tail that could be useful, what a happy day that was. It was the beginning of the rest of Blossom´s life.
I later heard from a rescue friend who talked to Dr. Choi that Blossom possibly was in a car accident, maybe thrown out of a running car. The Koreans are usually not keen on telling bad things. I think Dr. Choi knew something more about what happened to Blossom, but I never asked again,” she says. After she had fostered Blossom, she went on rescuing and fostering more small dogs.
In the email, Anderson says she is happy to spread the word about a brave little puppy whose life became a story of survival. “She has shown the world that there is a meaning in not giving up,” she says.
Blossom has slowly grown to like her new home, but some of the psychological scars remain. The Reids believe Blossom was beaten up by a woman as she is more comfortable in the presence of men. She barks and squeals when she sees a stick.
There are times when Blossom suddenly wakes up from her sleep, squeals and shrieks and runs around the room frightened. There are times when she unexpectedly growls when someone pats her.  She is, however, gradually improving and helping her in this endeavour are the other three pets:  two borzois named Zander and Shadow and a tawny cat.

Zander and Shadow are big dogs and the Reids were concerned about how they might react to Blossom. They quickly forgot those concerns as both dogs seem to be happy to have her. “They like to look after her and Shadow is actually quite possessive about her,” Virginia says.
While Zander keeps his distance, Shadow is playful. Every morning a familiar ritual plays out in their living room as Zander bring his toys to Blossom. He grabs her gently and prances around the room. She jumps on him, bites his lips and pulls him down. All three have their breakfast together.  
When other dogs are surprised and come running for her, Shadow quietly stands before her as a protector. Blossom has once been attacked by a dog because of her unusual looks. While most people look at Blossom with curiosity, David and Virginia once faced the ire of a couple who felt the dog should have been euthanized. “They said this is no life for a dog. You should have adopted a child instead,” David says, remembering the tense exchange with the couple.
There are others who consider Blossom an inspiration. The Reids still remember the mother who stops to point out Blossom to her kids. “Look at that dog,” she says, “and see what she is capable of doing even with two legs.”
Blossom is a happy normal dog in every sense, except for two issues, Reid says. She needs help climbing the stairs and she can’t scratch an itch. He first noticed that when he saw Blossom’s hip moving and twitching. He figured out it was a natural instinct to scratch her ears. “Now when I see her hips move, I go ahead and scratch her ears,” he says.
Blossom too knows the Reids are on her support team. Since she can’t stand, she has an endearing habit of standing up by resting her body on David’s legs. Being the big dogs they are,  Zander and Shadow also serve the purpose well. The Reids have considered a prosthetic limb or wheel for Blossom, but it won’t work, they have been told. Because of the beatings that were seemed to have been given by holding her down, Blossom won’t allow anything around her neck.
David and Virginia have known each other since they were 17 and both share a love for animals. In their living room, you will find framed pictures of Briar, a sheltie that was very special to Virginia. His memory also lives in a special artistic pin Virginia’s friend made from some of Briar’s hair.
“He would follow me everywhere. He really had this heart connection with me,” said Virginia. 
Virginia didn’t grow up with pets in her home but was introduced to the world of animals by her nanny. Virginia was also a big fan of Lassie, the fictional female collie dog character created by Eric Knight. David, however, can’t remember a time growing up when he wasn’t around dogs and cats. He still recalls fondly the memory of his first dog, a poodle called Roger his dad brought from England.
Since their marriage, they have always had pets at home.
When Lady, a Sheltie they adored, got old and couldn’t walk because of arthritis, they made a special buggy for her. Blossom isn’t the first dog they have taken that needed an extra help. Chance, a sheltie they had for several years, had suffered from epileptic fits. The breeder told them beforehand but David said it didn’t matter. “Dogs are just beautiful animals to me,” he says.