In his wheelhouse

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Al Key/DRC
City of Denton Animal Control Officer Urban Rodriguez watches the action of William's cart as he walks him around the shelter Thursday August 8, 2013, in Denton, Tx.
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Dog regains mobility with team’s skills

With a new set of wheels, a once-paralyzed pup is now ready to roll.

William, a short-haired dachshund, was brought into the Denton Animal Shelter less than two weeks ago as a stray.

“He was found near Corinth on the side of the road,” kennel supervisor Gayla Nelsen said. “While he seemed fine at first, the next day we learned he was unable to move his back legs.”

Meet William’s hero, animal services Officer Urbano Rodriguez.

The day after William was brought in, Rodriguez was doing his routine chores at the shelter when he noticed something was not right. William was not able to get out of his kennel on his own to go play with the other small dogs at the shelter during cleaning.

“I thought maybe he was scared at first, but I hooked the leash on him and gave it a little tug — causing him to slide,” said Rodriguez, an officer at the shelter for 18 months.

William had a few small calluses on his paws and underbelly, but officials at the shelter said he was in good spirits the entire time.

While the dog does prefer the ladies at the shelter, Rodriguez said with a laugh, that didn’t discourage him from wanting to help the little guy walk again. He decided William needed some wheels to help him get around.

“I knew what I wanted to do, so I quickly searched on Google and checked out how to make a dog cart,” he said.

Permission was granted for the project, and as word spread, a shelter volunteer paid for the building supplies. Within a work week, William’s life was taking a turn for the better.

While building the cart required trial and error, Rodriguez said he now knows what it takes — should the shelter ever need another one.

He said it didn’t take long to put together, nor did it take long for William to get used to it.

With help from another person at the shelter with sewing skills, the proper adjustments to his sling were made to provide the comfort William needed. Sewing, Rodriguez said, was something he’s not very skilled at.

Nelsen said William “immediately took to it” and loves going out for a walk.

So far, William has stayed in the cart for only about 30 minutes at a time, but as he adjusts more and builds up his front leg muscles, he will roam longer.

Officials said it’s a reward to see the pup excitedly in motion within days after coming in with difficulty moving.

“We are going to be very picky when it comes to finding a home for this little guy,” Nelsen said. “He is a special one, and if repairs need to be made to the cart, we will dip into our medical fund to make sure everything is properly cared for.”

The cart cost $85. It was worth it to see William enjoy being mobile again, Rodriguez said.

“Not only does William have a new perspective on life, but so do I,” he said.

If you are interested in adopting William, call the shelter at 940-349-7594.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.

 


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