By: KDKA-TV Digital Content Producer Heather Lang
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A brown, black and white beagle. A howling hound dog just like many others; but unlike so many others, Boone has his own set of wheels and a bunch of bow ties.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Area Dogs Nominated For 2021 American Humane Hero Dogs Awards
Boone’s wheelchair helps him get around because he has no back legs. A cruel person took them from him early on in life.
Boone suffered abuse in his original home of Laredo, Texas. The brunt of the abuse was to his back legs. He was kicked so hard one of his femur bones snapped, but maybe worst of all was the removal of his back legs for no apparent reason.
An unspeakable abusive act to an innocent creature.
At the time, Boone was known only as “Big Daddy.” It was an odd name and another lifetime ago. A life when Boone had no reason to smile, no light in his big brown eyes. Both stolen from him like his legs.
That chapter of Boone’s life is, thankfully, over. His new chapter includes a book of his very own, a family of his very own, a wheelchair to help him get around, friends of both the human and furry variety and a big collection of bow ties.
Boone’s second chance starts with his name and a Western Pennsylvania couple that fell in love with him instantly.
Tanya Diable, a local foster and adopter who takes in animals with special needs, was thrilled to be granted the chance to foster Boone. She was just starting a charity called Joey’s PAW at the time. Inspired by the Diable’s Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, named Joey, the charity raises money for dogs in need of wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs.
Dogs just like Joey and Boone.
Joey, sadly, lost his back legs by animal cruelty, too. Tanya says they were cut off at just 6-weeks-old.
So, when she saw “Big Daddy” needed a home, she thought of Joey. The cases were just too similar.
The first thing Tanya did was give “Big Daddy” a more appropriate name.
“My husband and I drove five hours to Scranton, [Pennsylvania], to meet the transport team. When they opened the back door of the van, the tag from the previous dog was hanging and it said, ‘Boone,’” she said. “My husband and I looked at each other and instantly had tears. We chose that [same] name a week prior [for their new foster].”
A sign on a sign.
Just a few hours into their ride home with newly-named Boone, Tanya realized it was just meant to be. They went from fosters to Boone’s official family a few days later.
“I promise you,” she said, turning in the car to look at Boone, “I will never let anyone hurt you ever again.”
After letting Boone get settled in, Tanya turned to the veterinarians at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine to help him with his disability. There were surgeries and scars, but all of them aimed at getting Boone back his mobility.
When the vets finally gave approval for wheels, Boone’s disability went from sadness to strength.
In that wheelchair, Boone could play – not again – but for the first time ever. Joey, along with Tanya’s other dogs, had to show him how.
Tanya says that is when the light started returning to Boone’s big brown eyes. A carefree beagle pup able to chase a ball. Strength, determination and the will to overcome.
“As long as the dog is happy, that is what is most important,” Tanya says.
That strength and love of people is what has brought Boone to his second chance. Boone is not only happy himself now; he is spreading happiness.
Just look at his smiling photos on Instagram. You’ll be a believer – “A Miracle Named Boone.” A little dog who has so much love to give and so many lessons to teach.
Tanya says she’s learned a lot from each of the dogs she takes in, each one a blessing and inspiration, and she’s thankful for every one of those lessons along the way.
Boone’s most important lesson may be his resiliency. His will to keep going, even through the darkest moments and the worst kind of cruelty.
He could have so easily become shy and anxiety-ridden around people, but not Boone. He loves meeting people and children and other pets. Because of that, he has become the “spokesdog” for Joey’s PAW.
He’s a natural as Tanya dresses him in his bow ties for photo sessions and public outings. He has a selection of over 300 bow ties. Now that’s a well-dressed pup!
Boone, in his bow ties, loves bringing joy to the children who need it most.
Impossible that a little dog from Texas who was abused and thrown away could become a comfort and therapy dog for kids dealing with health hardships and disabilities just like he did. But as Boone shows time and again, nothing is impossible.
He and Tanya visit The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh and Lemieux Family Center often. They also visit schools and do other fun meet-and-greet events. Tanya says it’s so easy for children to relate to Boone, showing them that they are not alone and that differences are not so scary.
That is illustrated best in Boone’s own children’s book, “Bow Tie Boone,” which tells the story of Boone’s life with the Diables and his training to be a therapy pet.
Tanya says she has more books planned. She and Boone have set some big goals for those new books. Knowing Boone, he’ll achieve them. Howls are in his vocabulary, the word “can’t” is not.
For now, Boone is happy to play with Joey and his other furry brothers and sisters. Showing the person who hurt him all those years ago that if you look hard enough through the darkness, you will find a light.
Boone is the little dog that persevered and kept right on loving through the shadows – wheelchair, bow ties and all.
For more information about Joey’s PAW, visit their website here.