Missing a leg has not slowed Kaya down one bit.

Missing a leg has not slowed Kaya down one bit.

After a humane society officer found the small brindle mixed breed dog, then 12 weeks old, on the side of the road near Canal Winchester, he delivered her to local veterinary technician Candice Curtis' care.

"I was working at the Winchester Vet Clinic when the officer found her on the side of the road and brought her in," Curtis said. "Her leg was broken at the elbow, and I fell in love with her the moment I saw her."

After attempting to repair the break, a decision was made to amputate Kaya's right front leg. Kaya, now 3, was only 16 weeks old at that point, Curtis said.

Even with only three legs, Kaya is an award-winning agility course competitor and a certified therapy dog.

In agility course competition, dogs run unleashed alongside their trainer through a course of different obstacles, such as an A-frame piece of climbing equipment, over hurdles and through tunnels. The dogs are judged on speed and on how many obstacles they successfully complete, according to Curtis. Each run usually lasts 30 seconds or less.

"I started training her at Agility and Rally for Fun (ARF) in Gahanna once a week and did that for about 11 months before her first trial. It's definitely been a good bonding experience for us," Curtis said. "I can tell by her expression that she enjoys it. It's nice to see her show outwardly that she's excited and has fun doing this."

In agility training, there are five proficiency levels that dogs can be trained to achieve. Kaya is currently training to achieve the second level. Her success at agility, even with her disability, inspired Curtis to train her as a therapy dog.

"I've always had a love for animals and kids," she said. "With adopting Kaya and seeing how she overcame her handicap and how she interacts with kids, I thought she'd be a good therapy dog."

According to Curtis, Kaya is part of the Tail Waggin' Tutors program, where elementary school students are encouraged to read to Kaya in order to increase their skills. Kaya and Curtis also participate in Agility Ability, where developmentally disabled children are given the opportunity to work with training Kaya on the ARF agility course.

"We worked with Therapy Dogs International to get her certified, and then once you're registered, it's just a matter of figuring out how you'd like to help - anything from reading programs to nursing homes and everything in between," Curtis said. "The kids seem to relate well to her and they often don't even seem to notice that she doesn't have a leg."