Rescued Chihuahuas get new 'legs'
Two dogs — one born without a paw and one without fully formed front legs — get the gift of mobility.
Thu, Jun 21 2012 at 2:52 PM
Two Chihuahua pups from different states will soon both be getting around much easier, thanks to their rescuers.
Brenda Jones adopted Vespa, a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix born without fully formed front legs, from Chihuahua Rescue and Transport. After her previous dog died from a heart condition, Jones had decided to open her heart and her home to an animal with special needs, and when she saw Vespa, she knew she’d found her new canine companion.
Because of her deformity, Vespa was only able to crawl or hop on soft surfaces like carpet or the grass outside Jones' Fort Worth, Texas, home.
“I wanted her world to be bigger than that, so I researched front wheels for dogs,” Jones wrote. “She was not a candidate for prosthesis. Missing front limbs are a much bigger challenge than missing or injured back limbs, as it turns out.”
During her research, Jones came across OrthoPets, a Denver firm that specializes in animal mobility, and she flew Vespa to the facility. OrthoPets’ technicians made a mold of the pup’s chest and created a custom vest that allow Vespa to be hooked up to wheels.
After some stretching and a few practice runs, Vespa took to her new wheels and Jones finally succeeded in opening a whole new world to her special pup.
One state over in Albuquerque, N.M., a Chihuahua named Peggy Leg is doing her best to get around with just three feet. The dog, who was taken from a Roswell, N.M., animal shelter by Enchantment Chihuahua Rescue (ECR), was born without a foot on her hind leg.
Without a prosthesis, the tiny pup would have to have her leg amputated because its weight puts too much pressure on her spine, so ECR workers began contacting universities about a prosthesis. When they learned about medical research taking place at North Carolina State University, they shared Peggy Leg's story. The school was looking for a small dog to test its new mechanical limb technology, and Peggy Leg was the ideal candidate.
"When we were told about this program it was unbelievable, it was like, 'Oh my gosh, she is going to be a bionic dog, bionic leg,'" Mary Jewell of ECR told local television station KOAT.
Similar implant procedures have been conducted on 100 people in Europe, but the surgery requires more research in America.
Peggy Leg will soon be heading to Raleigh for her first round of operations, but she’ll need a total of four trips before her treatment is complete and she’ll be able to walk on all four legs.
"Together we hope to not only help Peggy, but promote a new type of prosthesis that will help our soldiers that are so much in need," Jewell said.
Check out the two videos below to see both Vespa and Peggy Leg in action.
Vespa's new wheels
Peggy Leg's bionic foot
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