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Archive for November 20th, 2008

Game on, tortoises — bunny Ethel gets wheels

A British rabbit whose lost her hop is now getting around on a set of wheels made in Texas.

The four-year-old rabbit, Ethel, lost the use of her back legs after coming down with a mystery illness.

Vets advised owner Zoe Holbourne to put the rabbit down – but she refused and turned to Internet.

There, she found a mom and pop company on the outskirts of Houston that makes customized miniature carts for disabled animals and placed her order.

The Telegraph of London reports that Ethel is “now happily bounding around in the contraption, which is made from toy wheels and lightweight plastic tubing.”

Miss Holbourne, 46, said: “It looks bizarre but it is just amazing. It has given Ethel a new lease of life … At first she struggled to keep her balance and kept tipping over, but she soon got to grips with it, especially on flat surfaces. Now she loves it.”

Ethel also lost control of her bladder and bowels due to the illness, according to the Telegraph, and has to wear “a special nappy at night.”

Ethel’s was the first cart Dogs To Go has built for a rabbit, and the first they’ve shipped to Britain.

“Most of the carts we make are for dogs, but we’ll consider any animal so long as it isn’t too large, said Laurie Miller, a veterinary technician and director of Dogs to Go. “We even make some carts for skunks which people keep as pets.”

Laurie manages the company, while husband Larry builds the carts. The couple has two disabled pets of their own.

“Larry is our cart builder. He works a full time job, then comes home and builds your custom cart,” the Dogs to Go website says. “He puts a lot of love into every cart because he knows how much you want your baby to get back to a normal life.”

(Photo: A Pug gets his wheels; courtesy of Dogs to Go)

“I rescued a human today”

This poem has been making the email rounds of late — most often without the name of its author attached, and frequently labeled as anonymous.

It was written by Janine Allen, a professional dog trainer for 25 years who is on the staff of Rescue Me Dog, a California and Wyoming based organization that provides education and training for rescued pets and their owners.

Allen received a degree in exotic animal training and management from Moorpark College and spent several years as a wildlife researcher,  zookeeper and a birds-of-prey trainer/presenter. She has served as a humane educator in public schools, raised Guide Dog puppies and trained miniature horses for entertainment venues.

Here’s the poem:

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well. Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.

I would promise to always be by her side.

I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Petfinder sponsors ugly sweater contest

The only thing worse than a tacky holiday sweater, we all know, is a tacky holiday sweater on a dog.

I think this guy’s expression pretty much sums it up — sort of, “c’mon, are you serious?”

But here’s a chance to put that holiday sweater to good use. Petfinder.com is having an ugliest pet sweater contest, and the winner will grace a Petfinder holiday e-card.

You must act quickly though, and submit your picture — it can be you, your dog, or the both of you in ugly holiday sweaters — by Sunday, Nov. 23.

Submit your picture here.

(Photo courtesy of petfinder.com)