From abandonment and amputation to hogging all the dog beds and snuggling with Georgia, this is Archie’s beautiful, brave story.

Please welcome the newest weirdo to the family!

Lily, Archie and Georgia

Archie is a 10-year-old, abandoned, three-legged Boxer with cancer…my total dream guy!

I took one look at his seriously grumpy adoption profile and I knew we would be good for each other. Tyler even confirmed it: I heard him say, “You can do this, mama” in my head when I was considering filling out the application for Archie.

Archie’s adoption photo courtesy Boxer Haven Rescue. Look at that grumpy face!


I don’t know what name he went by for the first 10 years of his life, but he was picked up as a stray on Archbold-Whitehouse Road near Toledo, so now he’s Archie. He was underweight and had a softball-sized growth on his front shoulder. It had split open, causing a lot of pain and lameness in that leg.

Archie’s intake photo, courtesy Lucas County Canine Care & Control

The day after Archie arrived at the shelter, he had surgery to remove the mass.

He woke up in the shelter without a leg. He was weak and lethargic and wouldn’t eat for two days, and then he was transferred to a foster mom in Detroit. He battled through pneumonia and then a hip injury from slipping on the floor. As soon as he was stable, I adopted him and he made the long trip from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.

That’s a lot to go through in 10 weeks.

Archie now, getting healed and healthy at home with me and the girls.

The mass was diagnosed as soft tissue sarcoma, and it had grown so large that the surgeon couldn’t quite get clean margins.

That means there are some soft tissue sarcoma cells lingering, and there is a chance they could grow back, and grow back more aggressive. I’m not worried about that right now. I don’t look at him as a cancer dog. He is a scared, healing dog in need of calm energy, dependable safety, lots of healthy meals and all the love he can handle.

I am giving him supplements to boost his healing and prevent cancer regrowth:

  • turmeric paste
  • mushroom powder
  • CBD oil
  • green tea extract
  • green lipped mussel powder
  • homemade bone broth
  • home-cooked food
  • and more.

He trembles with excitement at every meal time, so that alone makes it all worth it.

Archie doesn’t let his missing leg hold him back. He’s a fast runner and a fearless jumper, and his nose is picking up so many scent trails in the yard. He loves to watch the deer from the window, but he can’t be fooled into chasing them outside. He’s just a skinny little bean, so winter is never going to be his favorite season. He wears a coat outside and loves to get covered up with a blanket when he’s inside. When it’s warmer out, I think he’s going to love exploring the woods and waterfalls with us. I’m excited to see what he thinks of our first warm days and laying in the sun on the deck, watching the bay.

Georgia paired off with Archie right away. ❤️ She will be a perfect healing companion to him, just like she was for Duke. They all go to bed in their own dog beds at night, but every morning I wake up to Georgia laying next to Archie.

For the first few hours after we got Archie, Georgia was the only one who could get close to him. I couldn’t touch him at all—he would growl and snap—but she was smooshed right up next to him within minutes. We had a four-hour drive home with this growling, biting dog, and there was a moment when my daughter and I had to quickly get out of the car because he suddenly jumped over the barrier into the front seat! A few French fries made the rest of the drive go better, and by the end of that night, he was well on his way to opening his heart and letting down his defenses.

Archie’s first hours with us in the car.

Very quickly, Archie went from this scared, scrappy street dog to a velvet teddy bear. During the adoption, the word that was used most to describe him was “grumpy,” and he definitely was. He growled, glared, snapped and bit. He was protective of his body—I couldn’t move him, pick him up, take off the sweater he came in, or help him in and out of the car. His incision was still healing and I had to be very careful not to touch around it.

Today, I wouldn’t use the word “grumpy” to describe him at all. It just doesn’t fit him anymore. The words “melty,” “gooey” and “teddy bear” come to mind instead. I can now pick him up, put his coat on, cut his nails and give him hugs and kisses. I don’t go anywhere without Archie following me, he sleeps on my lap every evening, and I’m happy to say that he even gives the best little kisses. He does this thing now where he rests his cheek against my cheek, and I swear I want the world to stop in those moments so that we never have to move.

He warms up to people fast now, and he’s fallen hard for both of my kids and my parents. He’s learning he’s safe and well cared for, and in return he is bravely letting his defenses down. I can’t think of many things more rewarding than gaining the trust of a dog who’s been so let down.

When I think about everything he has gone through in such a short time, I am so proud of my resilient little bear. There is a big heart inside his vulnerable body, and I love working to gain his trust and make him feel safe. He is teaching me things I never learned from Tyler, Lily, Duke and Georgia. He’s easy to fall in love with, and I hope you’ll help me cheer on our beautiful tripod for however much time we have with him.

After losing both Duke and Tyler in 2021, I really did try to enjoy the “ease” of going from 4 to 2 dogs. But something was missing, and I knew I had room for more. These weirdo seniors that no one else wants have my heart.

Archie is the third special needs dog in a row that I’ve adopted, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that this is my place, this is one of my roles in the world. I have a serious soft spot for the “unadoptables,” and it doesn’t matter to me one bit that he’s old, has three legs and was diagnosed with cancer. He still deserves a soft bed, freedom from pain and fear, and the last best days ever with a family who loves him. I know my heart is strong enough to give him that and still stay open for more.

Thank you to Lucas County Canine Care & Control, Boxer Haven Rescue and his foster momma Lori for giving Archie a second chance at a happy life.

jennifer waters happy dog mom signature


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