Tori Sutton, Stratford Gazette
Chihuahuas Mira and Kelvin may only have four legs between the two of them, but their new owner Sherri Agar has one big heart.
Agar – who rescued the dogs from London in June – is currently fundraising to buy the seven-year-old dogs wheeled carts to improve their mobility.
Littermates Mira and Kelvin were born without front legs, a deformity likely caused by overbreeding.
Agar suspects the dogs lived in several homes until their most recent owner died from meningitis.
After his passing, the pups’ behavioural issues posed problems in several of the foster homes in which they were housed.
When she first heard about the dogs, they were on their way to the local shelter.
“They needed a home right away, the foster care had fallen through,” she said.
Growing up on a farm, Agar’s family rescued plenty of animals, from domestic cats and dogs to wildlife. Once, they even took in 22 kittens.
Though it meant doubling her pack – Agar has two other chihuahuas – she didn’t think twice about bringing Mira and Kelvin home.
The duo requires special care, including daily bathing since their bodies drag on the ground. They can’t do stairs and must be carried outside.
Even going to the bathroom poses a unique challenge for the dogs. She suspects their contact with the ground is what causes their frequent bladder infections.
For the last few months, she’s been working hard on correcting behaviour problems and has had success with ridding them of their food aggression.
They’ve also warmed up to strangers and are eager to be pet and held.
She’s also gotten a handle on some of their health concerns – including problems with nails, ears, eyes and teeth – and has altered their diet to help the dogs lose weight.
All things considered, the dogs have adapted well to their disability, and use their back legs to hop around.
Mira bounces around energetically – though she has developed rough spots where her stomach rubs the ground – while Kelvin appears to have a bit more trouble.
Both sit prettily on their hind legs and Kelvin has no problem rolling over for a good belly rub.
However, as they age, Agar expects it will become harder for them to move about, especially considering the impact and weight their rear legs have bore for all these years.
Agar has been in contact with a US-based company, Eddie’s Wheels, and hopes to purchase each dog a front-wheeled cart, at a cost of about $500 each.
Originally, when she contacted the company she hoped to rent the equipment. When she found out no such service was offered, the company suggested she reach out to the community to fundraise the amount.
Over the last two weeks, Agar has raised about $200 wheeling the dogs around the city in a stroller, chatting with passersby about the dogs and their unique condition.
She’s hoping by getting the word out through local media she’ll be able to get even closer to her $1,000 goal.
The carts would be custom fit to each dog’s measurements and weight. They are specially engineered to allow the dogs to lower their heads to sniff about, stand tall and play with other dogs.
Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Agar at firstname.lastname@example.org.