I only met Chief and his family for about fifteen minutes, but when I entered the home, I immediately felt the connection.
I have done this 31 times, but every reaction is different. Some size me up, some hug me. None of the owners quite understand why I do this. I usually say "I am paying it forward", but really, it has become my mission for life.
Chief is a tiny Boston Terrier with soft lips and kind, globular eyes. He was greeting me at the door, working hard on pulling his rear end on the floor. Even though all animals I meet are disabled, I follow the golden rule - let the animal come to you, do not reach toward their faces ! Chief came up to me, sniffed my shoes that offered a smorgasbord of unique scents. We became friends on the spot.
I measured him, wrote down all the information I needed for his cart and listened to Chief's mom. Chief encountered a tragic accident that left him paralyzed. His human parents and his little brother were devastated. While visiting the family, I watched Chief's movements, paying attention to his weakness and his strengths. When I order a cart, I describe each limb, their range of motion. Chief's front legs have full strength, his left rear leg is completely stiff, the left one dangles lifelessly.
I went home and posted a fundraiser for Chief's wheels. I also organized and carried out a huge yard sale that benefited Chief and another dog. In less than a week, his cart was fully paid. I kept in contact with the family and could not wait to share the good news - In about two weeks, their little puppy will be standing upright, in a correct position, relieved from discomfort with a straight spine.
That is exactly what happened! I received pictures, videos showing this little boy proudly running around.
Although I could not reverse Chief's paralysis, I could be part of his rehabilitation. Every time Chief rolls the streets of Lebanon NH, he carries an important message - differently - abled animals can live full lives!
If you see him, please take time and say 'hello' to Chief and his family.