Two legs good, two wheels better: new ride for Beanie the abandoned pup
An abandoned puppy with a rare muscle-wasting parasite can now keep up with the pack.
With only two good legs, Beanie the dog just needs to put one paw in front of the other as he learns to roll, not stumble.
The staffy-cross was dumped on the banks of the Hutt River aged four weeks but was taken in and treated by vets before going to animal rescue group HUHA in Upper Hutt.
Group founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie said Beanie was diagnosed with the extremely rare parasite neosporosis, which can cause paralysis, and muscle wasting.
The dog's back legs have been hit, leaving them permanently thin, wobbly and barely able to function.
Beanie can move, dragging and bouncing his back legs along behind him, but he struggles to keep up with the rest of the dogs at the sanctuary.
The sanctuary was a home for "emotionally and physically disabled" animals, Press-McKenzie said. This included a blind calf, clubfooted pig, and a chihuahua with a hare lip.
Now Beanie has a chance at smoother and quicker mobility, Press-McKenzie said, after she dusted off a special rolling apparatus kept on the property.
The device is a wheeled frame attached to harnesses, which becomes defacto back legs for the dog.
It was a mobility hand-me-down: manufactured in the US and donated by its previous owner after their dog died.
Press-McKenzie said she tried to use it for another dog at the sanctuary with mobility problems but that dog's back end wouldn't fit. Beanie's does.
All Beanie needs is to get used to the new mode of transport.
"The hope is that if we can get him used to the wheels then it will help him keep up with the other dogs ... and just enjoy life with a little bit more normality."
She said it was a "day-by-day" process of getting him used to the new normal of wheels.
"It's a strange feeling going on wheels when you're used to hopping."
In the long run Beanie might have another new normal – a new home.
Press-McKenzie said he could be adopted if they find the perfect owners. Otherwise he would always have a place to roll at the sanctuary.