When a tiny stray puppy was brought to the Aurora Animal Shelter in Aurora, Colo., she was immediately evaluated by the veterinary staff. The little dog (who was just roughly a month old and a little over a pound) was born without her two front legs.
Dr. Cathlin Craver of the Aurora Animal Shelter tells petMD that, despite her rare birth defect, the Chihuahua-mix puppy "was not in any pain and, otherwise, appeared completely healthy."
Still, Craver and the Aurora staff wanted to give the canine the chance to move around like other dogs, and with that, they took her measurements and made a fiberglass mold of her body so that she could be fitted for a wheelchair vest.
The vest, which was created by Orthopets and took approximately two weeks to make, is now allowing the pup to thrive in her foster care setting. The little dog was named Roo by her foster mom Jeanne Morris, who tells us the pup (who hopped like, who guessed it, a kangaroo) is doing very well and is quite happy.
While it took Roo a little while to get used to wearing the vest, Morris tells petMD that in almost no time Roo was walking, and even running around, with ease. She even figured out how to turn the cart. "The main thing we had to work on with her was to walk bi-pedally instead of jumping her back legs together like she normally does."
Morris notes that Roo can do all the things other dogs do, including getting up and down flights of steps—she just tackles the task in her own unique way. Roo also gets along with people and other pets, and she still gets to participate in all the usual puppy activities, from cuddling to teething.
"Roo is a happy puppy," Morris explains. "As soon as anyone approaches, she wags her tail and her little shoulder blades start wiggling and her ears go back and she is so excited to meet them."
Craver says that Roo may need a larger vest in the future as she gets bigger, and her future owner will have to continue the regimen of regular exercise, good nutrition, and preventive veterinary care, Her adoptive family will also have to make sure she stays at a healthy weight to minimize the extra stress on her back legs, says Craver.
"Animals like Roo can make amazing pets, bringing joy and inspiration to everyone they meet," Craver says. "However, adopters must understand that pets with disabilities will require additional time and care, adaptations to home environments, and more financial responsibility than an otherwise healthy pet."
Image via AuroraGov.org