Monday, September 12, 2011

Our Monday Morning Smile - An inspiration on wheels

Meet Chili- A true inspiration

Monday Morning Smile - cute dog in wheelchair
Chili - the cute dog in his custom wheelchair
is an inspiration to us at The Laughing Pet

Cruising in their custom wheelchairs, Chili and Arlo are the center of attention wherever they go for and patients at the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation  in Dallas, they are a true inspiration.

“Many of the patients are new to wheelchairs,” said Linda Marler, the  program’s director “When they see Chili and Arlo, they  say, ‘If those dogs can do it, so can I.’ ”

Chili and Arlo are the only dogs with disabilities among the 90  specially trained therapy dogs that participate in Baylor’s Animal  Assisted Therapy program. The canine volunteers make weekly visits to  lift the spirits of patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or a  stroke.

Just like the patients they visit, Arlo and Chili have struggled with  adversity. When Chili, a 6-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, was 8  weeks old, she was thrown over a fence onto cement, breaking her back.  She suffered neurological damage and is unable to use her back legs.

As for Arlo, a 6-year-old miniature dachshund, he suffers from  degenerative disc disease, which has left him paralyzed from his  mid-back down. He was found as a stray, malnourished and dragging his  back legs behind him.

Both dogs were rescued by Jim and Bettye Baker, founders of Oak Hill Animal Rescue  in Seagoville, Texas, just outside Dallas. The Bakers started their  nonprofit in 2006 to save animals that were just days away from being  euthanized at city shelters. Since then, they’ve found homes for more  than 500 dogs. 


Jim and Bettye Baker rescued Chili and Arlo and had them outfitted with custom wheelchairs.   

Rather than put Arlo and Chili up for adoption, the Bakers made them  part of their family. To enhance the dogs’ mobility, they had them  outfitted with wheelchairs custom-made by a Massachusetts-based company  called Eddie’s Wheels.

“The minute we put Arlo in the chair, he took off like a rocket,” Bettye said. “He doesn’t walk anywhere; he runs.”
Chili, however, was slower to embrace her new wheels. “She was a  little like a porcelain statue

That enthusiasm has made Chili and Arlo a big hit with the patients at Baylor.  
“The patients just love them,” Jim said. "Seeing the dogs happy and thriving in their wheelchairs just makes people smile.”

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