George Bailey, a Sulcata tortoise born with metabolic bone disease, had spent his entire life dragging himself around.
The 11-year-old tortoise’s condition prevented his back legs from fully developing. They were giving out frequently, so the poor reptile has had to deal with mobility issues since he was born.
Thankfully, a pet mobility company named Walkin’ Pets recently gifted him with a custom wheelchair, giving him the ability to walk on all four legs for the first time!
Before he was fitted with his new wheels, George was rescued by his human, Jaime Loebener, from an exotic animal facility in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Jaime saw how difficult it was for George to move around.
“He uses his front legs to pull his way around slowly and clumsily. The bigger he’s gotten, the more difficult this has been for him. He currently weighs close to 70 lbs. but may grow to weigh over 200 lbs,” she told Walkin’ Pets, according to a press release from the company.
Sulcata tortoises can live up to 100, and Jaime knew she had to find help for George before he becomes completely immobile.
She researched ways to help her pet become more mobile and saw a story about Scoot Reeves, the first turtle that Walkin’ Pets built a custom wheelchair for.
The poor tortoise was run over by a front-end loader, which left his back legs paralyzed and his shell cracked. Thankfully, Scoot is now happily moving around with his new wheels.
Jaime contacted the company hoping that they could help George, too. Walkin’ Pets believes that injured, aging and disabled pets deserve to live happy and healthy lives. For years, they’ve been creating custom wheelchairs for cats, dogs, and even giant tortoises.
So when they heard about George’s situation, they immediately agreed to help him. The talented team built the tortoise an adjustable wheelchair large and durable enough to allow him to get around comfortably.
“George Bailey may not be the fastest animal on wheels, but steady wins the race,” said Walkin’ Pets. “[He] isn’t going to be going anywhere too quickly, he needed to be comfortable and Sulcata Tortoises have a convex contour on the underside of their shell that the Walkin’ Pets engineer was able to support with additional cushioning on top of the scooter base.”
The custom wheelchair also features a harness designed to expand as George grows and terrain wheels that will allow him to move comfortably in the dirt.
Upon getting his new ride, George got to moving right away and experienced his first assisted steps! Now, he has more control over his movements and won’t need to drag his body across the ground.
Jaime said George’s progress is “amazing” and that she’s happy to see her pet tortoise “move himself around.”
Another reptile enjoying his custom wheelchair is a little turtle named Pedro. One of his legs was already missing when he was first adopted. However, he escaped from home and was gone for a few months.
When he came back, Pedro’s owners were shocked to discover that he had lost his other hind leg.
They brought Pedro to the Louisiana State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Luckily, Pedro didn’t have any life-threatening disease.
The doctors quickly had to figure out what they were going to do about his missing back legs. After some brainstorming, they’ve decided to build him a wheelchair made of a Lego car kit.
The vets ended up with a cute and customized wheely device that allowed Pedro to walk again!
Thanks to companies like Walkin’ Pets and these creative vets, George and Pedro can now move around freely!
Watch the video below to see George Bailey with his new wheels.
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