KNOXVILLE, TN (WTVM) – Meet Ollie – the 3-legged golden retriever puppy that's here to make your day better.
Ollie was born with just three legs and was the 12th in a litter that was only supposed to include 11 puppies, according to his owner Alex Widmer.
Alex and his wife, Leanne, began posting his exploits to social media shortly after they adopted him in May, and the internet is falling in love. Ollie was born on May 9.
"The good news is I get around just fine," Ollie's Facebook page says.
Alex Widmer says he and Leanne adopted Ollie from a friend who wanted the pup to have a family that would successfully raise a dog with three legs.
"We have heard that breeders sometimes put down the pets who have deformities right after birth, and we decided were up for the challenge to raise him," Alex Widmer said.
Alex said that he and his wife have a passion for helping people and animals with special needs.
"We don't have anyone in our families who has a special need, but we love people and see everyone as equal and the same," Widmer said. "No one should be judged or seen differently in our society by the way the walk, talk, think, and look. Unfortunately, they are."
So, 3-legged Ollie was the perfect member of their family, in their eyes.
Ollie's parents are perfectly capturing his personality, much to the internet's delight. Alex said he wanted to use his talents as a filmmaker and photographer to showcase Ollie.
"He has no idea he is 'different' in the world's eyes, and he shouldn't be," Widmer said. "We just hope his positive lifestyle could impact people in a unique way in the challenges they face."
Many of the videos and photos showcase Ollie's unfettered ability to just be a puppy, who has a playmate - a 6-year-old black lab-mix named Lexie.
"Ollie is high energy and is always trying to pick a fight with Lexie," Alex said. "They play all the time, and even though she is five times as big as he is, they get along great."
One video shows him conquering a big step at the back of the couple's home. Alex perfectly set up the day's long journey to Chariots of Fire.
Widmer said that they hope to train Ollie to become a therapy dog.
"Maybe not a service dog, but we'd love to use his disability to someone else's ability," Widmer said. "Whether that's bringing him to children homes, hospitals where kids have special needs and are injured, or to old folks homes. Anything that can bring a positive light into the world is what we'd love Ollie to be about."
Ollie also loves people.
"I love how he melts in your arms. No matter how big he gets," Widmer said. "I think he'll always want to be held. He absolutely loves it and falls asleep most times."
Widmer said that the social media reaction has been "unreal," and people have been supportive - sending photos of their 3-legged pets, photography tricks and tips about the golden retriever breed.
Not bad for a dog whose favorite trick is running across the yard for treats!
"Looking forward to all of the life's adventures that I embark on, and most importantly, I can't wait to meet all the people on this journey," reads the description on Ollie's Facebook page.