A volunteer at the Kaohisung Concern for Stray Animals Association recently adopted a disabled dachshund after it was abandoned by its owner because of a spinal cord injury.
Knowing that the dachshund would be euthanized after two weeks, the volunteer adopted the dog and named him Baozi (包子) before taking him back to visit the association.
To help Baozi regain mobility, the association ordered a dog wheelchair. According to a volunteer at the association, some local factories have started to manufacture dog wheelchairs that cost anywhere from NT$4,000 (US$133) to tens of thousands of New Taiwan dollars. Even at the higher prices, the expense is still about half of what it would cost to order dog wheelchairs from abroad, making it more affordable for local pet owners to take care of disabled animals, the association volunteer said.
With the dog wheelchair, Baozi can now move around without dragging his belly on the ground, reducing pressure on his front limbs and minimizing skin and internal organ problems, the volunteer said.
Before Baozi was fitted with his new wheels, his abdomen, hind legs and tail were covered with patches of peeling skin and other injuries, the volunteer said.
However, the volunteer said that even though it helped a lot, the wheelchair could not replace Baozi’s legs. When Baozi is placed on his wheelchair, he can only sprawl and cannot sit, the volunteer said, adding that Baozi cannot jump when on the wheelchair.
The device is not meant to be used for an extended period of time, and it should be taken off after about two hours, the volunteer said, adding that the association only uses the device when taking Baozi for a walk or when the dog needs to answer the call of nature.
Association chairwoman Wang Hsiao-hua (王小華) said that even though volunteers had to spend time harnessing and unharnessing its 20 to 30 disabled canines to and from wheelchairs, if this helped the canines move about more freely, then it was time well spent.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer