Para-Athlete Talks to FMS Students About Overcoming Adversity
April 18, 2019
CBS Evening News Feature on Gardner
Wounded Warrior and para-athlete Christy Gardner, her service dog Moxie, and school therapy dog in training, Lucky Tim, visited Founders Memorial School on April 18 to talk to the students about overcoming adversity, as well as accepting and including people who are different.
Gardner had both legs amputated after complications from injuries she received in 2006 during a peacekeeping mission when she was a U.S. Army Military Police Officer. In 2010, Gardner was paired with a service dog, Moxie, who enabled Gardner to live on her own (her doctors said she never would), support her when she has seizures, and get back into competitive sports – she is now an assistant captain of the USA Women’s Sled Hockey Team, and a three-time track & field national champion in the discus and shot put.
Gardner decided to show her appreciation for Moxie’s impact on her life by paying it forward and adopting Lucky Tim, a pup born with missing wrist bones, from the dog breeder that she works for in Maine.
When it was determined that at least part of the leg will have to be amputated, Gardner told her employer that she wanted to raise Tiny Tim and train him to become a therapy dog in a local school. Her employer gave her Tiny Tim at no cost, and Gardner set out to raise $10,000 to cover the costs for his leg surgery and fixing his umbilical hernia, get him health insurance, and training.
A few months ago, Vermont pet health supplement maker VetriScience filmed Gardner and Moxie for the second season of their Take Good Care video series which shows the powerful bond between service or working dogs and their owners. When VetriScience learned of Gardner’s plans for Tiny Tim, they decided to help.
In early February at a school assembly at Leeds Central School in Maine, Gardner thought she was merely introducing the puppy to the students. VetriScience surprised Gardner with a $10,000 donation to cover Tim’s surgery, along with a lifetime supply of supplements. The students then participated in a contest to give Tiny Tim a new, permanent name. They chose Lucky Tim.
Lucky Tim had his surgery in late February and is doing very well. He is adjusting to life as a “tripawd” and learning how to be a good companion as demonstrated by Moxie, his trainer alongside Gardner.