A tiny puppy born with just two back legs has a whole new lease on life thanks to a group of caring people in Ohio. Tumbles was one of three puppies born in early October, according to ABC News. Just 1.5 pounds when he stumbled into the world, the little runt struggled to nurse on his own. So Friends of the Shelter Dogs in Athens rescued and bottle-fed him. A volunteer at the shelter then posted a photo of the Terrier mix on Facebook, and sure enough a woman and her husband offered to adopt him. What they did next has completely changed his life.
Karen Pilcher, FOSD rescue coordinator and Tumbles’ foster mother, told ABC News why they decided to bottle feed the puppy. “He was getting pushed out by the others. We thought he wouldn’t make it.”
His new parents designed a miniature wheelchair and asked the Ohio University Innovation Center to print it with their 3D-printer. It took 14 hours to print the prototype, which has two wheels and a fabric support system strapped to the puppy’s back. ABC reports he received his first fitting last Tuesday. The lab director of the Innovation Center, Joe Jollick was reportedly pleased with the outcome.
“Everyone is real enthusiastic,” he told ABC. “Our main goal [was] to get him off the ground. The second thing is to get him used to it.”
The wheelchair was a bit big for Tumbles, so the lab is creating a new one. The fitting will be accompanied with physical therapy so Tumbles can adjust to his new mobility, but Jollick warns both the puppy and his owners will have to be very patient. “It’s a tiny, little puppy so it’s going to take some work,” he said.
Pilcher isn’t worried. “His spirit is incredible,” she said. “He’s perfectly happy and he loves to play.”
Since Tumbles is so young, he is going to need a series of new wheelchairs – particularly during his growing years. Luckily for him, the Innovation Center has pledged to keep making wheelchairs for the rest of his life. I don’t know about you, but I suddenly feel more hopeful about the world.
Via ABC News
All images courtesy Crystal Richmond