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Physical Therapy Connection for 6 Year Old Amputee and Dog Missing Leg

Posted by Brian Spence on Jul 21, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Amputee, Physical Therapy, Allied HealthLosing a limb is a devastating experience for anyone. Without the right attitude and a physical therapy program created specifically for her, things could have been especially devastating for Tessa Puma, a 6-year-old girl from Ohio recently had to have her left leg amputated.

Several months ago, Tessa got strep throat. Unfortunately, it moved through her body, causing a bacterial soft tissue infection. The infection was severe enough that her leg and a muscle in her shoulder had to be removed to save the girl's life.

Luckily, part of Tessa's physical therapy is working with dogs who have also lost a limb. Gracie, a Siberian mix, has only three legs and walks alongside Tessa. Rudy, a Golden Retriever with a prosthetic leg, is also part of Tessa's Physical Therapy program.

Along with having the dogs as walking partners, part of Tessa's PT regimen includes throwing treats and balls for the dogs. This physical therapy is meant to help Tessa increase the strength in the arm where the muscle had to be removed.

While Tessa's connection with the dog has helped her improve faster than might be expected, her improvement would not be nearly as fast if it were not for her attitude. Prior to getting strep throat, Tessa was known as a talented dancer and gymnast. Tessa is determined to return to dancing and gymnastics using her new prosthetic leg, and her parents and therapists are sure she can do it. Tessa knows it will take hard work to return to her previous activities, but she is willing to put in the effort.

If you would like to learn more about how physical therapy is helping people recover from serious injuries, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.


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