Doctor, animal shelter to provide prosthetics for dog without front paws

(Provided Photo/WNCT-TV)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A dog who was rescued from a neglectful home and born without front paws is working on walking and finding a new home, with the help of the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina and a local doctor.

“When she came in, she had matting on her back feet that were so bad that she really only had use of one leg,” explained Bethann Wilkie, Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. “We had to trim her down. Get rid of all the mats and then we had to rehab her back legs. The atrophy there was so bad that she really didn’t have use of the back right leg. We did a lot of physical therapy for her and we’ve kind of got her back up and rolling.” Up and scooting to be more specific.

Nubbins is a rescued Shih Tzu who’s missing her two front feet.

“They say that 60 percent of a dogs weight is held in their front limbs and, since those are the ones that are missing, she’s putting a lot of weight on this limb right here which is just bone and skin really,” Wilkie said. “We decided that we would take the risk knowing that she would likely stay with us a little bit longer. That she would need some more medical treatment as long as we could find someone that would donate some services and help us.”

Shane Coletrain of Orthotics and Prothestics East Inc. in Greenville decided to step in and help.

“I’m an amputee, so I have a special bond with Nubbins or any animal that’s missing a limb,” said Shane Coletrain, Orthotics and Prothestics East Inc.

That bond translates into new paws for Nubbins. But the change doesn’t come without its struggles.

“Right now, she wants to go run and play, but she knows she can’t go passed the carpet,” said Wilkie. “It’s hard to watch her sometimes because she wants to be a normal dog, but she’s just not right now.”

With some extra special care, and a lot of love and attention, Nubbins is working to walk. She’s been fitted for the first phase of her new paws, but she isn’t up and running just yet.

“This is a new thing for her, Wilkie explained. “It will take quite some time for her to get used to it.”

Nubbins was doubtful at first but soon she was making moves.

“Seeing Nubbins take those first steps with the prosthesis, and learn to use them and trust them and learn the prosthesis will hold her and support her, it’s the same thing that we as humans go through,” explained Coletrain. “Learning to walk and take those steps and trust the prosthesis. It’s something that takes time and it’s a very moving experience.”

It’s a long road for Nubbins, but she’s on her way.

To learn more about Nubbins, including how you can help in her recovery, click here.

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