Meet Chili- A true inspiration
|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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