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3-legged dog adopted after being rescued from hoarder home

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- A three-legged dog, rescued from a hoarder home, is leaping into the new year with a new outlook on life.

Helen Woodward Animal Center put "Champion" up for adoption Thursday and in a matter of no time, he was taken home by the Cariss family, who lives in Escondido.

The family said at the beginning of their day, they had no idea they would be bringing the seven-month-old puppy home.

“We’re on winter break right now. I’m a teacher and so we just decided to go to lunch and go and visit the animal shelter,” Melissa Cariss said. 

The idea was to just go and look at sheep and horses at the center, but then they stumbled upon Champion, a name he certainly earned.  

“I think from moment one I think we both knew that there was something special about him,” Dana Cariss said. 

You could say Champion has had a bit of a rough past. He was one of about 50 animals rescued from a hoarder home in Arizona. Shortly after, Helen Woodward Animal Center said it received a call asking if doctors could help.

“It wasn’t until we agreed to take him home that one of the ladies told me the full story,” Dana Cariss said. 

Those at Helen Woodward said after looking at Champion's front right leg, they found it was severely broken and arthritis was settling in. They ultimately decided it would be best to remove it and free him from the pain.

After a three-hour surgery and less than a month of rehabilitation, he is running and jumping around.

“I didn’t realize just how missing a leg, it’s not stopping him,” Melissa Cariss said. 

 “He has, in such a short amount of time, really been through a lot. I think it explains a lot about what he says in his eyes when he looks at you,” Dana Cariss said. 

Champion is a strong-willed puppy they are already learning from and they hope their kids will also learn a valuable lesson from his story, too.  

“It’s a different way to look at life isn’t perfect and you’re going to come across obstacles and I think that’s a real positive spin,” Dana Cariss said. 

Including Champion, Helen Woodward Animal Center said it took in nearly 20 animals that were rescued from the hoarding situation. FOX 5 was told they have all been adopted.

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