Disabled Border Collie gets wheelchair with skis to get around in the snow

Kadee Mae’s rig can be fitted with skis over the wheels so she has mobility in the snow. (Photo credit: Dan Lassiter/AP/The Janesville Gazette)

In mid-January, Kadee Mae’s life as she knew it changed forever. When her owner, Shiela Lund, let Kadee Mae inside one day, the otherwise healthy 10-year-old Border Collie from Milton, Wis., was dragging her hind end.

Lund had no idea what had happened. Worried for Kadee Mae, she rushed her dog to the veterinarian. A few visits and a consultation with a specialist later and it looked like Kadee Mae had somehow broken a piece of bone in her back, completely paralyzing her back end.

To make sure Kadee Mae could still get around, Lund ordered Kadee Mae a special doggie wheelchair. But the Wisconsin winter was especially snowy this year, so even with her new set of wheels Kadee Mae had trouble navigating through the white fluff. She’d pull and pull with her front paws but the wheelchair’s snow-caked wheels kept getting stuck.

That’s when Lund got a bright idea. Kadee Mae didn’t need wheels — she needed skis.

“I needed to see what I could do to make her life enjoyable and mobile again,” Lund explains to the Janesville Gazette.

Lund emailed her friends and fellow volunteers at Friends of Noah — a Janesville, Wis., animal rescue — to ask for some help. Sure enough, her plea worked; Lund’s friends Sue and Larry Warwick sent Kadee Mae the perfect set of 30-inch skis.

Well, almost perfect — the skis still needed to be custom modified and fit to Kadee Mae’s wheelchair. But $700 later, safely secured to the wheelchair by a Massachusetts company, Kadee Mae finally had what she needed to move through the powder with ease.

Lund tells The Janesville Gazette she initially had to coax Kadee Mae, who wasn’t used to her ski-fitted wheels, out into the snowy yard. But a few treats and a bit of encouragement usually does the trick.

“When I get her moving in it and go further out, she’ll come on her own,” Lund says of Kadee Mae.

With her new ski-chair, Kadee Mae can also play outside with her Border Collie sisters Bootsie and Annabella again, which has done a lot to lift her spirits.

It’s been a long road and a lot of money, but Lund says Kadee Mae’s custom chair was well worth it.

“When she realized she could move and have her freedom again, you could see the joy,” Lund tells the Journal Sentinel. “Now she’s going to be able to get back on our walks of two to three miles a day, which is a big factor in bringing her a quality of life.”

Sources: Journal Sentinel, The Janesville Gazette, StarTribune

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