By Katy Gill
The uplifting moment an infant born without a leg bone ran towards her mother for the first time having gained the courage from a fellow amputee – an adorable three-legged puppy.
Two-and-a-half year old Juliette Waits was filmed hesitantly trying to use her new prosthetic leg, before 45-year-old Emma Rodriguez, who was also testing out a her first running blade, led by example and encouraged the tot to gain the confidence and take the leap.
Adorable Jules was initially reluctant to give up her old prosthetic leg, becoming teary when first testing out the new sports blade, which will enable her to run, jump and dance.
Surrounded by the supportive prosthetics doctors that made this possible for her, the tot is encouraged to run towards her mummy and daddy, Amanda and Tim Waits.
But it was Vida, a three-legged puppy rescued from Puerto Rico after the treacherous hurricane of 2017, who was the biggest support of them all, acting an adorable consoling partner and play mate when the toddler became overwhelmed with the occasion.
Mum Amanda Berling-Waits, who filmed the moment on June 6 in Orlando, Florida, USA, said: “Juliette was born with congenital femoral deficiency and fibular hemimelia.
“This consists of a missing a bone in her lower leg, a club foot, a missing toe, a shorter femur, fewer ligaments in her knee and possible future issues with her hip on the left side.
“We were given two options, the first was limb lengthening of the left leg and the second was amputation.
“Jules had her left leg amputated around 11-months-old and within the following month, she was fitted with her first prosthetic, taking her first independent steps at 14 months.
“Her amazing personality and strength shone with every obstacle she faced, she was blissfully unaware that anything was different or more difficult for her.
“She doesn’t see her leg as a struggle, she just sees it as her life – Juliette is almost unaware of a challenge, she just looks at something we all view as insurmountable and goes, ‘Oh, I guess this is how I will do this now,’ and goes on with her life.
“I’m sure she will face many challenges in life, both related and unrelated to being an amputee, but I know she has the strength and determination to follow through without looking at what ifs or unfair.
“On the drive home after this appointment, Jules was repeatedly singing, ‘Happy, new leg me so happy!’ – once again, unaware of the challenge she has been dealt.
“Since this video was filmed, all Jules has does is run, she has been in nonstop motion – she moves faster and smoother on this new leg.
“We are amazed and inspired by Juliette’s strength and abilities, the skills and commitment of the staff at POA, and the loving support of the POA & 50legs family.”
The owner of the rescue puppy and marketing officer for Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates (POA), Karen Hughes, said: “This was awesome to witness and we were all very touched by it.
“There are many times that our patients are inspired by watching others, especially when its children watching other children – there is nothing like peer support in this community.
Rick Shultz, the owner of the prosthetic design company 50legs, which was behind the design of Juliettes Disney character-styled running blade, was present during this important day to offer support to the parents and see his wonderful work in action with the patients.
The determined toddlers prosthesis, Stan Patterson is the owner, and heartbeat of POA, his vision and philosophy of ‘Do the right thing and the rest will follow’ has changed the lives of countless amputees.