Therapy dog born with just his back legs helping young patients

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Therapy dogs often visit people in the hospital to provide comfort to patients, and one very special pup right here in the Valley is helping patients just like him.

"The teams will visit our waiting rooms and surgery, and there's a lot of anxiety and stress that's understandable, and having that dog, they'll pet them," said Carly Ofsthun with Banner's Volunteer Services. "You just see kind of that sense that people have exhaled, and they'll just have this moment where they're not thinking about their loved one or themselves or what they're going through."

Nubby is a seven-year-old long haired Chihuahua, and he's a very busy guy. When he's not dressing up for his favorite holiday, riding around enjoying the beautiful Arizona weather or taking a dip in the pool, Nubby is at Banner Children's at Cardon Children's Medical Center, visiting the patients.

Nubby is no ordinary dog either. He was born with just his back legs, and a few years ago, he was abandoned in a parking lot in California. Deidre Grafel later adopted Nubby, and the two have been living life to the fullest ever since.

"The reason I give him so many opportunities is because he has such an enthusiasm for life and everything," said Grafel.

While at the hospital, Nubby goes from room to room, giving snuggles and kisses, and enjoying all the belly rubs he can get. He also gets to show off his wheels.

"They think he's cool," said Grafel. "They're like, 'oh he's got his own wheels'. Yeah he doesn't have arms, but that doesn't stop him. I'd like to see a transfer of that type of open-mindedness to kids in classrooms who may have a certain challenge."

Not only is Nubby providing comfort to the patients here in the hospital, he's also raising awareness for others like him.

"All the kids have embraced him, but would those kids embrace a student in their class who didn't have arms. Maybe this is a way to help desensitize kids to what's different," said Grafel.

Grafel has started this message in the hospital, but she's hoping to branch out to reach more people.

"Special needs animals are sort of just not in the picture when we think of marketing animal products. Same for special needs people as well," said Grafel. "Once we become immune to seeing and hearing and learning about special needs beings being people and pets, then we will be more accepting of them."

For now, Nubby will keep beating the odds, keep showing people being different is OK.

Most importantly, however, he'll keep giving back.

It's just how he rolls.

Nubby is one of 13 therapy dog teams at Banner.

How Nubby Rolls