Wheels for disabled dogs

January 11, 2008 5:03:26 AM PST
Three Chihuahua puppies born without front legs are learning to roll with it - on wheeled devices specially built for the diminutive dogs.

Pablo, Carmen and Venus were outfitted with the cart-like contraptions Thursday at the North Shore Animal League's Port Washington shelter. Donors gave $1,000 for the lightweight, aluminum-frame rigs, which are strapped on across the canines' backs and have two wheels to replace their missing paws.

Shelter veterinary technician Donna Imhof adopted the three after they were rescued from a Virginia puppy mill in July. She taught them to hop and strut around on their hind legs, but the wheels promise to prevent long-term back and leg problems and potential injuries from accidents.

North Shore Animal League spokeswoman Joanne Yohannon expects it will take the dogs a month or two to master their wheels completely.