Archive for Monday, March 31, 2008

Paralyzed pooch gets around with help of wee wheelchair

Duke, a dachshund who does not have the use of his back legs, has a custom-made wheelchair that allows him to move about with the four other dogs and cat that live with him in his Pittsburg home.

Duke, a dachshund who does not have the use of his back legs, has a custom-made wheelchair that allows him to move about with the four other dogs and cat that live with him in his Pittsburg home.

March 31, 2008


— There's something a little different about Duke, a dachshund who resides with the Linville family.

Maybe it's the wheels strapped to his rear end.

"He jumped down off my bed, and I think the disc was totally blown," said Laura Linville, an occupational therapist who works in Joplin. "He had steroids to take down the swelling in his spine, and he seemed fine. Then, four months later, he was acting weird."

Duke's hindquarters became paralyzed, and he also lost control of his bowels and bladder. He was hospitalized and even underwent a few acupuncture treatments from Dr. Mary Sue Painter, who is certified in veterinary acupuncture.

"But she felt that it wasn't going to be beneficial," said Linville.

She had a decision to make - how could Duke still have a good quality of life?

"I did think briefly about putting him down," Linville said, "but he's not in pain, and he still seemed happy. Then Dr. Micky Painter suggested a wheelchair, and I spent a lot of time researching them."

She settled on Dogon Wheels, which can be customized to the animal.

"We had to measure Duke, then e-mail the measurements," Linville said.

Duke got his wheels the week before Christmas.

"It came with instructions on how to help the dog slowly get used to it, but he got accustomed to it very quickly," Linville said. "He did have to learn how to maneuver around furniture and door jambs. At first he'd get stuck, but then he realized that he had to back up and move out a little more."

She said Duke's front legs do get tired after pulling himself around, so his time on wheels is limited.

"On weekdays, he's in the wheels from 3:30 to around 7 p.m. or so, and more hours on weekends," Linville said.

He enjoys playing with the four other dogs in the family and even chases Thunder, the Devon Rex cat. He also likes to spend time with Linville, her husband, Rex, and their children Mallory and Jeff, both Pittsburg High School students.

Linville has worked with Duke, doing range-of-motion exercises and hydrotherapy in the bathtub. This may be doing some good, because he has recently started moving his right leg.

"I'm hoping that someday Duke won't need the wheels any longer," Linville said. "But if he does, that's all right. I really want people to know that animals don't necessarily need to be put down after an injury like this, and they can possibly continue to have a good quality of life."


Ragingbear 10 years, 2 months ago

Meanwhile, there are American children without healthcare.

pomegranate 10 years, 2 months ago

So what's your point, Raging? That people should not take care of their pets because there are people without healthcare? Or perhaps they should not get new cars, buy new homes, go to restaurants, take vacations, visit friends and relatives, buy new clothes, etc? The world can't stop because of poverty or low income people, or the fact that not all of us can afford all that others can. I think that little dog is adorable, and sure has a new outlook on life with it's little cart. MUCH better than just putting it to death.

Confrontation 10 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Ragingbear. Too much money wasted on non-humans.

gr 10 years, 2 months ago

One of the few times, I'm with bear on this one. What a waste. How much did this cost? But, I guess if you got the money, instead of spending 50,000 on a car, it'd be just as "intelligent" to spend it on a mutt. Except for what about all the others in pounds being put down even though they are perfectly healthy? How many more animals could be helped for the extravagant waste of money on this one?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.