Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Prosthetic Center of Excellence dons new legs for Donny the Wonderdog
Donny the Chihuahua is almost like any other dog. Almost. He’s got two eyes, two ears and two legs.
Born to a backyard breeder, Donny’s hind legs are that of a normal dog, but his front legs are little more than stumps. It’s a condition rehabilitation therapist Maria Shinas has been working overtime to improve.
“We’re just walking him, trying to get better gait,” said Shinas.
Shinas is just one in a team of veterinary volunteers working with Donny through extensive therapy.
“At the shelter we wanted him to be more mobile and have a better quality of life,” NSPCA volunteer Jean McCusker explains
That quality is being realized with the help of therapy tools like an underwater treadmill that strengthens Donny’s trunk, and exercises to increase his range of motion. But perhaps the most unusual tools are the new legs that are in the works for him.
Kevin Bidwell normally makes custom prosthetics for human amputees.
“I own a lot of animals, or have animals as pets, but I've never built legs for one,” said Bidwell.
He says having a canine for a client has been rewarding, but it has its challenges.
“Donny tries to eat these as you can see, which is another problem I've never run into in the past; my patients previously never tried to eat their prosthetics.” said Bidwell.
Having lost one of his own legs in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago, Bidwell felt a special bond with Donny.
“I thought I was going to be disabled and I never felt disabled after I got my prosthesis,” said Bidwell.
It’s a feeling Donny will likely never understand, and that's just the way those that love him want it to be.
Web story by Courtney Holmes