Just like humans, dogs can be born with special needs. And like us, they need special attention, too. This disabled pup featured in our story didn’t only get excellent care; she also received lots of love from the people around her, especially from a shelter volunteer in this story.
Gracie is an adorable puppy born without two front legs – an unfortunate condition caused by a birth defect. When she was only six weeks old, her former owners dumped her at a veterinary clinic in the worst state. She was covered in maggots, she had multiple wounds, and she’s missing hair under her eyes and on her feet and tail.
Thanks to the vet’s kind heart, Gracie was treated for her injuries. Once she was better, the doctor referred her to Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue in Kennesaw, Georgia. The shelter took the pup in with the mission of helping her find a new home. But as it turns out, they didn’t have to look very far.
The Turley family, who runs the rescue, loved Gracie so much that they decided to adopt her. They were impressed by the dog’s fighting spirit.
“She doesn’t let it get her down. She doesn’t know she’s supposed to have 4 legs. She figures it out,” said Tammy, her mom.
The Turleys weren’t new in handling disabled dogs. They owned a dog who has paralyzed hind legs and another one who has three legs. The two were more than glad to get a new dog sibling.
While Gracie could get around by hopping on her back legs, Tammy worried that she might sustain injuries if they left her unassisted. Her lack of front limbs put great stress on her spine and chest, which might cause problems in the long run.
The puppy needed a wheelchair, and since she’s still growing, Tammy knew they had to find more affordable options. That’s when she got the idea of enlisting the help of a young shelter volunteer, 12-year-old Dylan Shervin.
Gracie needed a wheelchair that could adapt to her growing size, and LEGOs would be the perfect material to come up with something like that. Dylan, the amazing shelter volunteer got to work, and with the help of his mom, he built a LEGO wheelchair equipped with velcro to stabilize the dog. After a week, the project was complete.
“The first couple of times, it took her a few minutes to figure it out, but we ended up getting little pieces of hotdog and when she smelled those, she took off,” Tammy told The Dodo.
Gracie quickly outgrew her first wheelchair, so Dylan had to design a second one that will provide a better lift. The dog continued to grow, and Dylan made her a third piece with bigger wheels.
The pup only stopped growing when she turned a year old. By that time, she has been fitted with a permanent wheelchair, so she can continue to play with her dog siblings and get to wherever she wants safely and comfortably.
But even when Gracie is already using an adult wheelchair, she’ll be forever grateful to Dylan for giving her the mobility and freedom as a puppy.
As for the boy, it seems like being the “LEGO wheelchair master” has become a serious calling for him. The boy has been working with shelters and building LEGO wheelchairs for other rescues in need.
Thanks to the Turleys and Dylan, Gracie is now living a happy and healthy life. If you want to keep up with her latest adventures, you may follow Amazing Gracie on Facebook.
Watch the video below to learn more about this story.
We hope this story inspires many to accept people and animals who are different and to approach everyone with compassion.