Benny, a 3-year-old Pomeranian–Poodle mix, began “acting weird and skittish” before suddenly waking without the use of his hind legs. His overnight immobility stunned his family, who was devastated to hear that surgery would cost no less than $8,000.
James Stewart Paniagua has grown to love Benny after seeing him at his girlfriend’s home everyday. When a bit of research revealed that custom built dog wheelchairs run upwards of $1,000, his creative gears began to turn. Like any dedicated DIY-er, Paniagua put all of his effort into constructing a makeshift wheelchair that would help the dog get around.
And while the veterinarian told the family Benny’s condition should not worsen without surgery, he will certainly need much more care and attention. “These dogs, they’re animals,” Paniagua tells CBS Los Angeles, “but at the same time, they’re a part of the family.” He would do anything he could to make the little guy’s life more comfortable.
With a plan and a list of items from the local hardware store, his contribution has made an enormous difference in Benny’s attitude. And the final tally for the cost was much easier to stomach, according to UPI:
I had a ton of trouble finding wheels and ended up just buying a $20 scooter from Wal-Mart and salvaging the wheels. $5 on Velcro straps, less than $5 on nuts and bolts and close to $8 on PVC pipes, joints and PVC cement.
Less than $40 and about 4 hours of work gave Benny the freedom to move again. It’s not clear why exactly the pup began dragging his legs so suddenly, but his family is prepared to help him overcome any obstacles.
Paniagua plans to make some tweaks to his contraption, and with a little assistance around those tough corners, Benny will have no trouble in his brand new wheels.