LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Mike, a Chihuahua born with incomplete back limbs, regularly developed sores a vet could do little to fix. Faced with few options other than putting the dog to sleep, Mike's owner reached out to a maker of human prosthetic limbs for help.
Sally Hunt, Mike's owner, said fixing the dog's legs was the only way to save him. Hunt decided to contact Doug Mullin, who builds prosthetics. For the last 23 years, he has designed and fitted limbs for people using carbon fiber and flexible plastic. Mullin also builds leg, arm, back and neck braces. But Mullin had never built prosthetic legs for an animal.
That changed when Hunt called.
"I said 'He does people, he's not going to take care of my pet.' But I called Doug, spoke to him about it.He didn't even hesitate. He said, 'Hey, bring that pup in. Let's see what we can do,'" said Sally Hunt.
"We took a look, Sally brought Mike in and it was pretty simple what I had to do," said Doug Mullin.
Hunt said her Chihuahua, Mike, was born handicapped. One back leg was immediately amputated, and the other back leg had no bone or muscle below the knee. Mike couldn't walk, and there was nothing more her veterinarian could do.
"It's just a stub there you see and every time he put it down, it would make sores on it again. And that was going to get worse and worse," said Hunt.
Mullin owns Midwest Brace and Limb. He was born with Spina Bifida and became interested in prosthetics when his leg was amputated below his knee at the age of sixteen.
"The amputees, I see them from when they lose their leg or before, to their first step with their prosthetic. And it just makes me feel good when I can show them how easy it is to walk on a prosthetic," said Doug Mullin.
Mullin took a plaster mold of what was left of Mike's back leg. After a few attempts, Mullin made a prosthetic leg for Mike that fit perfectly.
"Because he really has saved (him). I don't know what would have happened to Mike with no legs at all. I mean he probably would have had to been put to sleep. I don't know what else I would have ever done, and Doug just didn't hesitate, he just did it," said Hunt.
"Mike's her buddy you know, so it makes me feel real good that we can do something like that," said Mullin.
Now Mike can run and play, something he could not do before. Mullin created a different prosthetic for Mike to wear in the evening, to help what's left of his leg heal from the sores.
"He saved Mike's life and he gave him back to me. I'm retired, I live alone, and in a year this pup has just became everything to me," said Hunt.
Hunt said Mike was born without full back legs because there were so many dogs in that litter.
Mullin said he used a very light plastic for Mike's prosthetic because the chihuahua is so small. He had to be able to walk around with his new leg.
Mullin did not charge for the service. He said he was happy he could help.
Mike recently turned one year old.
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