By Lauren Fruen
A CHIHUAHUA born with no front legs has been given a new lease of life after a team of vets went the extra mile and built her some custom made wheels.
Little Chispi spent most of her time being carried and when she did walk could only manage a few steps before falling over.
But with the help of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) the pup can now run and live a normal dogs life.
They designed a custom-made “wheelie vest” created by a company that also made prosthetics for a dog born without hind feet.
Chispi’s disability also weighed heavily on her owners who briefly considered giving her to a shelter, according to ASPCA.
But a medical team stepped into help and visited the one-year-old dog’s South Bronx home multiple times to take Chispi’s measurements and make a fibreglass mold of her body.
Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Medical Director for the ASPCA’s Community Medicine department, said: “When I heard Chispi’s story, I thought, ‘This is a dog we need to help.
“Chispi’ is in a loving home; she’s well cared for; she’s healthy. Overall she has a good quality of life. But her mobility is compromised, so she can’t be independent.
“Since she can’t walk properly, this puts extra pressure on her back and her hind legs.
“Most of her time is spent being carried from place to place, and when she did walk on her own, she could only hop a few steps and sometimes fall.
“We knew we needed to go the extra mile to find a solution, because we wanted her to have a full quality of life.”
Giselle Pescador, a Community Advocate for the ASPCA, first met Chispi’s owner when she brought her pets there for vaccines and neuter surgery.
She said: “My reaction when I first saw Chispi was mostly shock.
“I had never seen an animal like that. I wondered, ‘How will this dog ever live a normal life?’
“I felt such joy when I saw that the whole family was there watching Chispi walk for the first time.
“They’re such a close family. When Chispi took her first steps, it was very exciting.
“It’s actually life-changing for the whole family, not just Chispi,” says Giselle. “I feel like we’ve made a small dent for this dog and also given hope to the family.”
Chipsi – whose name comes from the word Chispita, which means “spark” in Spanish – took to her new wheels immediately.
Dr. Bierbrier added: “Typically with devices like these, they need a few adjustments to work perfectly. But the minute we put Chispi in it, she started walking. It was like she was waiting for it; she just took right off.”
“Having this chair is going to greatly improve her quality of life.
“It will allow her to get around the apartment, go outside for walks, meet other dogs and smell the outdoors.”