When she first set eyes on Snowy the three-legged pup, Brooke Hodgson knew she’d found the perfect companion for her little girl.
Brooke’s daughter Ella was born without a left arm. Fibrous bands in the womb cut off the blood supply, causing a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome. While living without the limb is all Ella has ever known, her mum worried about the challenges ahead.
Brooke wanted her daughter to know she wasn’t alone on her journey. So when she saw a photo of Boston terrier-staffy cross Snowy, who was in need of a home, she knew it was meant to be.
“They’re perfect for each other,” says the Queensland mum, who also has a son, Blake, three, with partner Stewart Peggie.
“Ella and Snowy are both a year old, and they’ve both lost the same limb,” explains Brooke. “It’s really strange how perfectly matched they are.
“Having Snowy normalises things. It gives Ella a bit of comfort, knowing she has a friend who is just like her.”
Snowy was born with four legs, but a run-in with a car when she was nine months old meant her leg had to be amputated.
Sadly, her original owners couldn’t afford to pay for the operation, so they gave her to the Animal Welfare League of Queensland (AWLQ), a rescue and rehoming service.
To the relief of Brooke and Stewart, both 22, the bond between Snowy and Ella was instant, and the pair have since become inseparable.
“Snowy usually jumps up but when she’s around Ella, she won’t. She just goes up and gives her sweet smooches every now and then. They like to cuddle up together in bed and Ella shares her food with her.”
Since the duo’s story was shared on the animal welfare league’s Facebook page, it has spread rapidly around the world. Brooke even began her own Facebook page – The Escapades of Ella and Snowy – which now has more than 5300 likes. She hopes it will help raise awareness for children like Ella.
“I want people to know she isn’t different to any other child,” explains Brooke. “We know there will be difficult times ahead, particularly when she starts kindy. When Ella is that little bit older, she’ll realise she doesn’t have that second arm.”
But with her loyal mate by her side, she’ll always have someone who understands. “They have a special bond and I’m so happy we can give that to her. Snowy can comfort Ella when we can’t.”