We’re big fans of the feel-good story here at Bham Now. So, today we bring you a story about a 3-legged goat named Valentino the Goat and his new leg at Serenity Animal Farm near Birmingham. Keep reading for all the details, including the unexpected role played by the owner of Birmingham Oddities.
Serenity Animal Farm near Clanton is a sanctuary and rescue farm for exotic and farm animals. They normally keep around 150 animals year round, and are not generally open to the public. That said, they let a couple of folks from Bham Now in last Friday to watch Valentino the Goat get fitted with a new leg.
Here’s the backstory:
Valentino the Goat’s leg was seriously injured, but the farm owner didn’t want to put him down
From Serenity Animal Farm, in late April:
“Valentino was seriously injured when his leg was caught in the fork of a tree. We heard his cries and ran and freed his leg. However, his leg was severely broken. People told me ‘you will need to put him down’. Instead, I decided to at least try and get his leg fixed.
Our friend and wonderful vet, Dr. Dee, came and put a cast on the leg. We crossed our fingers and prayed for Valentino’s recovery.”
Unfortunately, complications and infection set in after three weeks in a cast. Instead of putting the goat down, the owners of Serenity Animal Farm decided to have the hurt leg amputated at the wrist. They didn’t stop there, though. They put out a call for people to help find someone who could create a prosthetic leg for Valentino the Goat.
Adam from Next Step Prosthetics and Birmingham Oddities offered to make a prosthetic leg for Valentino the Goat
On April 22nd, Serenity Animal Farm gave heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of community support and then posted this update:
“I received a call from Adam with Next Step Prosthetics. We talked about Valentino’s condition, how a prosthetic would benefit him, help him and the steps to his recovery. He agreed to help us with this new dilemma and gave me instructions for the veterinarian when he does the surgery. Adam was a godsend that I needed at that moment. I was talking to him while driving down the road (on Bluetooth).
The dark clouds disappeared and suddenly there was sunshine, warm beautiful sunshine flowing through my body. I got so emotional I had to pull over alongside of the road for several minutes to compose myself. I cried like a baby. Adam was going to help Valentino with a prosthesis. My prayers for Valentino had been answered in a five minute telephone call. I just couldn’t believe this.”
But first, Valentino’s leg had to be amputated
Dr. Dee Jones successfully amputated Valentino’s leg. Here’s what Serenity Animal Farm posted after the surgery:
“While Valentino and I sat there this morning I told him everything and how it was going to be alright because of humanity. I think he understood me because he was smiling. During this pandemic a hospital is not the only place to find a true hero.
Heroes walk amongst us each day. They are our friends, our neighbors, and people we have never met or never will. People helping each other. People helping animals. In this last week I have met more true heroes than I have in my entire life. Thank-you everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
Dr. Adam made the cast mold for the prosthesis last Friday
It was an exciting afternoon down at Serenity Animal Farm in Clanton on May 8. Dr. Dee Jones of DRD Vet in Pratville and Dr. Adam Williams of Next Step Prosthetics in Alabaster came together to get Valentino ready for his new leg.
I reached out to Dr. Adam to learn more about his involvement in the case of the three-legged goat and discovered that while he makes artificial limbs for people for a living, this is actually the eighth animal he’s fitted a prosthetic for. It’s no surprise then that Facebook hooked him and Serenity Animal Farm up with each other.
Coincidentally, Dr. Adam owns Birmingham Oddities, a little retail store and natural history museum in downtown Birmingham with antique medical equipment, old leather books, animal skeletons and so on . . . the sort of place you might expect to find in Diagon Alley, for the Harry Potter fans.
Valentino the Goat’s custom-built prosthetic should help him live a normal life
Dr. Adam explained what happened on Friday and what happens next:
“We took a physical mold of the goat’s residual limb using a Plaster of Paris technique to capture the shape. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the anatomy of a goat—watching videos of how goats walk and how their limbs move. So now we’re in the design phase of custom fabricating a test leg for the goat. In about a week or so we’ll go back and do a test fitting. We need to make sure it’s the right height, that it fits correctly, that the knee bends in the right planes and that the goat can tolerate pressure on it.”
Once they know if the goat is able to tolerate and use the leg, it’ll be time to refabricate the test leg out of more permanent materials. They’ll have to make sure it fits comfortably and that the owner can put it on and take it off to keep the limb clean and make sure it secures well.
The design will allow for the owner to wash the prosthetic and limb with water every couple of days, once they’ve got the fit just right.
We’ll be following the story of Valentino the goat and we hope you’ll follow along with us.