Tyler rests underneath a table on the Armstrong patio, his tail wagging constantly, his mouth hanging open in a wide smile. Sunlight reflects off his black fur, and a red and grey braided leash snakes upwards into the hand of Eastyn Newsome, Tyler’s owner, who is dressed in a navy blue shirt and leggings, her short dark hair pushed back with a wide black headband.

Eastyn, a senior and botany major from Springboro, Ohio, found Tyler a couple years ago at the Cincinnati Lab Rescue and immediately fell in love with him. Tyler injured his leg in a car accident, but his previous owners didn’t take care of him, so he ultimately ended up having one of his legs removed.

Eastyn’s mother was hesitant to let her adopt Tyler at first, considering the family already had three dogs at home and had never taken care of an animal with such a significant handicap, but after some convincing, Eastyn got her family to agree.

She said that her favorite memory with Tyler was when her family took all four dogs to a local dog park. She walked Tyler over to one of the agility courses and watched him race across it, picking up the skills easily, completely uninhibited by his missing leg. Eastyn said someday she’d like to get Tyler into agility training, just for fun.

Eastyn said that she’d “like to say he wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he likes to try and eat flies.”

He even tries to play with her horse, named T, but that doesn’t really work out, because her horse is about ten times his size. She said that sometimes, during walks, Tyler will stop in front of someone, waiting to be petted because he’s so used to happy reactions from passersby.

Tyler, now three years old, absolutely adores kids and being outside, taking his sunshiney temperament with him on all of his adventures. Eastyn calls him the “cool, outdoorsy frat guy.”

Tyler also has a Starbucks addiction. His go-to order is one of the Starbucks “puppuccinos,” which is whipped cream in a cup. Eastyn said one time, Tyler tried to steal a Starbucks drink right out of a girl’s hand, so anytime the pair walk near a Starbucks, Eastyn tells others to look out for their drinks.

She isn’t certain of Tyler’s exact birthday, so she chose to celebrate his birthday on the day she adopted him: May 27.

Despite his cheerful demeanor, Eastyn said that Tyler didn’t used to like giving kisses. But, as time went on, he began to show more of his personality and finally learned that it was okay.

He also didn’t really know how to chase until Eastyn taught him how. She says he’s very wiggly, because his front and back legs aren’t evenly matched, but this doesn’t stop him from enjoying the outdoors and taking hikes.

Eastyn doesn’t bring Tyler to class, but says she has thought about training him to be a therapy or service dog. She eventually decided that she’d rather have him be “a free spirit,” but said that maybe, when he’s older, she’ll train him.

Back on the Armstrong patio, after being distracted by a scooter and a couple squirrels, Tyler is offered a quick sip of water by Eastyn, who uncaps a Gatorade bottle, carefully pours some water into the cap and offers it to him.

After a few capfuls of water, the pair begin to make the walk back home, and the sight of Tyler hopping next to Eastyn – happy, energetic, and completely uninhibited by his missing leg – adds a hint of innocence and hope to the early spring evening.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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