‘Shorty’ the dog gets new set of wheels to help her get around

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DENVER -- She's a Labrador mix who doesn't even realize her back legs don't work. Her birth defect could have meant a shorter lifespan and premature arthritis and tendonitis.

But now the 1-year-old canine is getting some new wheels to maneuver her into a better quality of life. Shorty's condition might have led other animal shelters to put her down.

But no-kill shelter MaxFund came up with the money to pay for a new wheelchair and physical therapy. You'd think a dog with lame legs would live an immobile life.

But you'd be wrong, Shorty can move.

"She is this bright joyous dog," MaxFund Clinic Director Heidi Hahn said.

And she'll move even better and safer in a customized wheelchair by Ruff Rollin’.

"She has managed. She has done her best. We wanted to see how we could enrich her life," Hahn said.

Shorty was born with a severe spinal defect that twisted her back in a way that makes walking with her hind legs impossible. A wheelchair will help straighten her back and relieve pressure on her front legs.

But it takes some adjustment.

"When she's in the wheelchair she has trouble reaching out to get started," physical therapist Mickie Phillips said. She's with Canine Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Group out of Broomfield.

Shorty’s back legs are ready to go--but not her front. She spends quite a bit of time just standing in place.

"I wonder if she's getting fatigued using her body differently," Phillips said.

A little coaxing with toys and treats work. It's all expected behavior. "We may have to do adjustments still on it. We want her to get used to it," said Phillips.

Shorty is finally standing tall. And her caregivers couldn't be more happy. "She certainly is not a throw away. She is a special girl and she deserves a really special home," Hahn said.

Shorty is looking for a home that can handle her special needs. Hahn said that family will need a lot of patience, time and heart. Shorty is also incontinent.

You can get more information about Shorty and the 70 other dogs at MaxFund at 1100 Inca St. in Denver or call 303-595-4917.

While MaxFund paid for Shorty’s wheelchair, there is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to other families in need to  pay for their pets' adaptive equipment including wheelchairs and prosthetics.

It's called Disabled Pet Foundation.


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