Let me tell you a story! Let me tell you a great story about what we do, why we do what we do, why we excel at what we do and why we walk around with smiles on our faces and why every single day for the last 30 years we have been bringing joy and happiness to pets and their owners all over the world.
It all started with a Veterinary Orthopedic Specialist named Dr. Lincoln Parkes. Back in the sixties when he was performing orthopedic surgery in the Animal Medical center in New York, he realized that there were many paralyzed pets who would not benefit from surgery or whose owners could not afford surgery for their pets, even if it was indicated! Their owners loved them dearly and were not willing to give up on them just because they had lost the use of their rear limbs. The pets themselves did not have any hang-ups! Indeed left to their own devices, animals will continue to drag themselves around following their owners and getting on with life as best they can! However this type of existence was not fun to watch nor beneficial to the pet, whose health would deteriorate as they developed sores, bladder infections and possibly a multitude of other problems – not a good quality of life for either the pet to experience or the owner to sadly watch! Something was needed to improve the pet’s quality of life- a K9 wheelchair was needed!
Thus the idea of a K9 Cart was born. AND not only would it be used for the totally paralyzed pet but it would be used for rehabilitation! This would bring happiness back into both the pet and the pet owner’s life!
Let me tell you about a little Shitzu named “Georgie” who lives in Vancouver, Canada. Recently, I was exhibiting at a large pet show in Vancouver, Canada and I had walked out of the exhibit area looking for somewhere to have lunch when I saw a lady walking towards me pulling a little wagon. Sitting up in the wagon, surrounded by blankets and towels was a little black and white dog. No one pulls their dog around in a wagon if it can be led on a leash so I approached the lady and asked her about her dog. Yes, indeed, the dog, a Shitzu named “Georgie” was paralyzed and had been that way all of its 1.5 years having been dropped as a puppy and suffered spinal damage. I informed her that there were wheelchairs for pets and she said that she was on her way to K9 Carts so I introduced myself and we walked back to the booth together. I knew I had only brought a very few carts with me to the show and I was hoping that one would fit Georgie. Luck was with us for after measuring Georgie we realized that with a few minor adjustments we did have a cart for him. I could tell the owner was a little apprehensive but yet excited at the thought of Georgie being mobile. She took Georgie out of his wagon and he sat there with his legs stretched out behind him-always a sad sight. We put Georgie in his cart. He just stood there with this little front legs perfectly still. He did not move one inch! I could tell his owner was disappointed but I wasn’t for I knew that what was about to happen to this little dog was going to change his outlook on life forever! Understand, we had a little dog who had never stood in an upright position in his whole 1.5 years of life!
We were still watching him but he was content to stand there completely still even although his owner was trying to coax him to walk. Just then a lady passed by leading a small while Poodle with a pink bow in its hair. This was too much for Georgie! He may not have been able to walk by himself but he was, after all, an otherwise healthy male dog! He took a couple of tentative steps towards that vision of loveliness and then a couple more. Of course by this time she had passed by him so he ran after her in his K9 cart. He glanced around once to see what was following him but kept on going. When the Poodle saw Georgie charging towards her, I think she realized that he was a beginner driver so she ran around behind her owner. This did not stop Georgie who promptly ran over the owner’s feet and subsequently caused chaos for a few moments! Since he had obviously learned how to run in his cart, we took him down into the large exhibit ring accompanied by some children who had been watching everything. Georgie’s owner said he liked to go after tennis balls so the children started throwing balls in all directions. Georgie started tearing around at top speed, his hair flying, his ears flapping, his pink tongue hanging out, his eyes bright and alert and his head twisting from side to side as if not to miss one moment of excitement! You could tell that he could not decide what to do…chase and fetch balls… just fly around the ring…or run back and forth between his owner and the children. He was in a fever of excitement! You could practically hear him saying, “This is what I have missed! This is life! What shall I do next? Boy am I having fun! Now I can do what I want to do and go where I want to go!”
Drawn by the children’s voices and laughter, people wee gathering around the ring to watch this little dog so full of joy and obvious happiness tearing around. Everyone was smiling and laughing and I know my eyes were wet. It was a wonderful moment! His owner came over to me, hugged me and kept saying thank you over and over again.
That is what K9 Carts is all about… experiencing joy and happiness knowing that every single day of our lives we have created these feelings and improved quality of life for pets and their owners. We don’t get to see every pet we help but we know that out there somewhere in the world there is a pet and their owner happier because we are here and truly care!
Thanks for listening to our story and we hope you enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoy telling it.
Pet Mobility Rehab Center
(formerly K-9 Carts West)