By Jack Williams
This is the heartwarming moment TWELVE PARALYZED DOGS were given a second chance at life, thanks to a 77-YEAR-OLD SCOTTISH WOMAN who oversaw the creation of individual wheelchairs for each and every one of the them.
The sheer joy could be seen on the faces of the 12 once-disheveled pooches, as they raced around the rescue center courtyard, in Lalitpur, Nepal.
These twelve dogs required special mobility aids because they had either been hit by cars – a common problem in Nepal – or injured through other means and simply left to die on the streets.
When Scot Barbara Parkes of K9 Carts – a company that specialized in creating mobility devices for injured animals – was contacted by the rescue center, Sneha’s Care, in May 2017, she and her team instantly agreed to help.
Injured dogs in Nepal are often neglected, Hillary Kloetzli, a US partner and representative of Sneha’s Care, said, as high levels of poverty in the country mean that residents choose not to adopt dogs from rescue centers.
Once Barbara had received details of the dogs’ measurements, she and her team, in Freeland, Washington, USA, began reaching out to dog owners who had received a cart in the past but had then sent them back to K9 Carts.
Barbara – who is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, but emigrated to the United States in 1960 – asked the owners if they would be willing to donate the carts to the Nepal cause. All agreed.
Coinciding with this outreach, Barbara also set up a GoFundMe page to source $1350 for additional carts.
Hillary said: “All I can say is that Barbara went above and beyond all expectations.
“When I first solicited Barbara, I was asking for one or two carts, but the next thing I know, Barbara is on a mission to make sure that each one of our paralyzed dogs gets their own cart.
“It seems Barbara can ask her supporters for anything and they come through.
“I think this is because most of Barbara’s donors have had a pet that was paralyzed, and they know firsthand how these carts can change a dog’s life: they become happier and more active; their entire personality comes alive.”
The team at K9 Carts, including Barbara’s son, Glenn, works on between 3,000 and 3,500 animal mobility devices a year.
Barbara said: “Although I have been helping pets for over forty years, I still get a wonderful feeling when I see a dog or a cat, a chicken, even rabbit, be able to run around again, as pets quickly adapt to our carts.
“I could never have had a better career.
“I get more hugs and licks than probably anyone else in the world.”
After sending out an initial four carts in the summer – which were collected by the Sneha’s Care team in August – Barbara and those at K9 Carts continued to work on the additional eight wheelchairs, sending them out in batches throughout the year.
In Nepal, dogs with names like Happy and Seti, Siri and Kali waited for their carts.
Sneha’s Care is one of the largest animal welfare charities in Nepal, created by animal advocate Sneha Shrestha in 2014, and currently housing around 130 dogs.
To show the donors what all their hard work had gone towards, the team at Sneha’s Care shot footage of the dogs in their carts, following their successful fittings.
The shelter deals with around two or three dogs a week that are hit by cars, Hillary said, and because of funding and the approach to injured animals, many will remain in the shelter their entire lives.
That was expected to be the case with the twelve dogs who were provided carts, too – but the shelter recently announced that some are set to move to the United States to live out their days.
Knowing this, and seeing the footage of what joy the K9 Carts team can bring to animals, is what continues to drive passionate Barbara.
She said: “We realize what great work and dedication it takes to help dogs in rescue organizations, and especially in Nepal, where apparently animals are treated terribly.
“We can give them back a life again and make life easier for those who help them and take care of them every day – preventing unnecessary body sores.
“I will probably never retire because I truly love what I do, and there is no question on a mobility issue that I cannot answer.
“It is always so heartwarming to see a pet run off in a cart for the first time and to see the video of the dogs we helped in Nepal.”