Dog 'wheelchairs' help extend injured pets' lives

K9 Carts helps dogs walk by letting them roll.

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- He's an adorable dog, which makes his situation that much more heartbreaking.

Jake, a Corgi, can't walk. A common spinal condition took the use of his hind legs.

His owner Linnea Hess says it came out of nowhere.

“It was so sad and shocking for us, and for him, too, because he didn't know what was going on,” she said.

Unable to walk, Jake started making messes in the house. He had to be carried everywhere.  Jake's condition turned the family's living room into a sort of canine nursing home.

At 14 Jake had lived a good life. The Hesses didn't want to put their beloved boy down, but they thought they might have to.

“He wasn't ready to go. We were trying to make the decision that was best for him.  So, of course, those thoughts cross your mind,” said Linnea.

Fortunately for everyone, Linnea found K9 Carts, a Whidbey Island company that has been giving old dogs new wheels for more than half a century.

And not just dogs or cats. Workers at K9 Carts have outfitted lambs, rabbits, even a 90-pound turkey.

K9 Carts custom fits the contraptions to each animal and ships 60 to 70 of them around the world each week. Rear wheels replace the animal’s hind legs which can be affixed to the back of the cart to keep them from dragging. The company was the first of its kind in America and has been around for 55 years. Not a lot of people, however, know that walkers for dogs and other pets exist.

Owner Barbara Parkes says it's just the right thing to do.

“You or I, if we had a bad leg, they're not going to let you limp around. They're going to give you crutches or a walker. It's the same principle,” said Barbara.

As for Jake, he has taken to his wheels like a dog to a bone. With minimal effort, he rolls himself out the door of the K9 Cart shop and over to his owner’s van.

“It's so wonderful to see him be able to move again on his own,” said Linnea. “It really did save his life.”


Copyright 2016 KING


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