KENNEWICK — Roo might look a little like a kangaroo with his crippled front legs, but he is still a playful puppy through and through.
He loves to frolic, even if he can't romp around like a normal pooch. Roo was born with a birth defect that renders his front legs useless. He uses his back legs to push himself around on his chest.
The Pet Over Population Prevention organization is looking for a permanent home for Roo and seeking donations for a specialized wheelchair for his front legs to give him some mobility.
That wheelchair would be custom made for Roo's needs, but it will cost between $300 to $600. Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can call POPP at 943-4722 and leave a message.
The 4-month-old husky mix pup is in the care of Sherry Boling of Kennewick, who has been serving as a foster mother to Roo and his brother Chevy since they were 3 weeks old.
A girlfriend of Boling's son rescued Roo and Chevy from a man who threatened to kill the puppies.
"From what I was told, the guy who had Roo and his brother didn't even know anything was wrong with him," Boling said.
There were four pups altogether, she said. One died, one the man gave away, and Roo and his brother were dumped in a box and left without food or water.
"They kept crying in the box so this guy told my son's girlfriend he was tired of the noise and was going to snap Roo's neck," Boling said. "She then grabbed those babies and got them out of the guy's house. Their gums were white, they were dehydrated and both had temperatures when she brought them to me.
"Sometimes it's so hard to understand how people can treat animals so badly."
Boling had a dachshund who still was nursing pups and allowed Roo to nurse for a few hours.
"But that didn't last because my dachshund knew something wasn't right with Roo and wouldn't let him nurse anymore," she said. So, she bottle-fed the pups for a couple weeks then gradually introduced them to solid food.
Another family, Monica Moreno, 18, and her mom Kathy of Kennewick help provide foster care to Roo when Boling isn't able to.
"He's just the sweetest little boy," Monica said. "He loves to play and he'll scoot along on his chest to get to you."
POPP arranged to have Chevy neutered but has to wait until Roo gets a little older to have the surgery because of his disability, Boling said.
"The vet told us Roo's legs definitely can't be fixed," she said. "But a special wheelchair he can lean on to get around will give him some flexibility. I firmly believe this sweet, adorable little guy will lead a wonderful life someday."