– The topic of fitting disabled dogs with customised wheelchair-type devices is always a controversial one. Such devices have been in use for over twenty years now, and are usually used in cases where a beloved family dog has had an accident, lost the use of his back limbs due to old age, and so on.
However in the case we highlight today at the Daily Dog, none of the above situations apply. In this case a rescued eleven month old Irish Wolfhound cross puppy named “Chester” has been fitted with a $1,000 customised wheelchair to cater for a disability he was born with. Chester’s front legs were deformed to the point he simply could not walk – as you will see from the image in this Post.
The wheelchair was paid for by Brooke Whitney from Animal Welfare Queensland at Ipswich. Miss Whitney stated she believed Chester had been anonymously placed at the shelter for financial reasons.
At pups4sale we can certainly understand people being unable to provide either a wheelchair or the quality of life for Chester that his deformity dictates. However the question is, would it have been kinder for the shelter to simply euthanase Chester rather than go to the expense of not only the wheelchair, but also the time, effort and additional money required to teach him how to use it. The total outlay for such an undertaking is of course far more than just the $1,000 cost of the wheelchair itself. This begs the question; how many other healthy, rescue dogs could have been helped to find suitable homes with the money spent on Chester? The answer we suspect is quite a few.
At pups4sale our opinion is euthanasia would have been the kinder option for Chester. He is going to need special care for his entire life, which will require a unique household prepared to provide that for him. Additionally his deformity may well result in substantial, unexpected veterinary costs in the years to come, and there are naturally relatively few households out there willing and able to take on Chester’s burden.
Many of our readers will have a different opinion of course, and you are welcome to (politely) express that opinion in the comments section below. However for those with an opposing view, you need to consider if you would be willing and able to take on Chester for the next 10 years or so of his life? If not, what would a viable alternative be for him?
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier in this Post, there are many other wheelchair-bound dogs in Australia that have been placed in a wheelchair for non-birth defect reasons – such as accidents. Is it fair to the dog and his family to extend his life by placing him in a wheelchair? As is the case for Chester, we believe in the vast majority of (if not all) cases it is kinder to euthanase a dog whose only chance at further mobility is a wheelchair. Please feel free to comment below on the general issue of dogs in wheelchairs too, as we value the opinion of all dog-lovers on this controversial topic.