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A 12-year-old boy who lost his right leg to cancer has just adopted his dream pet: A dog that is missing a leg as well.
“I wanted a three-legged dog because he would share my struggle,” Quinn Scharn, of Napa, California, told TODAY. “Because he would know what it felt like. He would know he wasn’t the only one to have an amputation.”
Quinn had been asking for such a pooch since losing his leg in April 2015. He was 10 and being treated for bone cancer, his second bout with a form of cancer.
His wish came true last week when he brought home Logan, a pit bull mix with a missing front left leg.
The seventh grader and his furry companion made an instant connection.
“I’m beyond happy,” Quinn said. “Having Logan, to me, is having a best friend that knows everything about you.”
They share more than just a physical characteristic.
“We’re fighters,” Quinn said. “We’re resilient.”
“We never stopped fighting, and whatever life does to us, we’re going to keep going,” he said.
As a toddler, Quinn underwent a year of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and weeks of radiation after being diagnosed with a soft-tissue cancer in his abdomen. His family was overjoyed when he reached the five-year mark of being cancer-free, said his mom, Teresa Howell.
When Quinn was 10, though, he felt pain in his right leg that progressed to a limp, and ultimately, a diagnosis of bone cancer in his hip. His leg and part of his pelvis were removed in April 2015, and treatment kept him out of school for months. In January 2017, the family finally received the good news that Quinn no longer had any signs of cancer.
“It was a very stressful, fearful, hard time for Quinn, not being able to celebrate being cancer- free,” Howell said. “He’s just been emotionally having a hard time.”
In the week since they’ve had Logan, though, Howell has seen a wonderful change in her son, with his feelings of loneliness and fear falling away.
“Quinn has appeared to be happy-go-lucky, but as his mother, I’d known it’s like a cover for what he’s struggling with inside,” Howell said. “And when he’s with Logan, there is no cover. You’re seeing this genuine happiness in him instead of just a front to protect himself.”
“It’s a relief that Quinn doesn’t feel so alone and different,” she added.
They almost missed the chance to adopt Logan. On March 1, a friend tagged Howell on a Facebook post by the Front Street Animal Shelter featuring a video of the dog, who had lost his leg when an old injury healed improperly. When Howell and Quinn made the one-hour drive to the shelter in Sacramento, California, the next day to try to adopt Logan, they learned that another family was already considering him.
They decided to meet the dog anyway, and when Howell asked how long Logan would be held, she learned the other family was no longer interested. “We adopted him right then,” Howell said.
The pooch took to his new family immediately. “It was like he was always there,” Howell said.
It was a contrast to darker times when Quinn struggled with his amputation, and told his mom things like, ‘You don’t know what it’s like,’” Howell said.
“He’s right, I don’t know,” Howell said. “But ... he loves Logan, Logan loves him, and he feels like Logan knows what it’s like. Nobody else in his world knows what it’s like, but Logan does.”
“When I see the two of them together, I see companionship and a strong bond,” Howell said. “I see hope when I see them together. I see hope for Quinn.”
TODAY.com contributor Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter: @lisaflam