MADISON, WI (CNN NEWSOURCE) – A pampered pooch hasn’t let his disability stop him from living life to the fullest but his owners wanted to make sure he didn’t miss out on anything.
A group of engineering students in Wisconsin stepped up to the challenge.
For months, they’ve been working on a project they’re calling “Wheels for Louie.”
4-year-old Louie is a lot like other dogs.
“He gets along with everyone, he’s everyone’s best friend,” Pete Sammataro said.
With one big difference.
“If you ask Louie, he would tell you that he’s not disabled, he just doesn’t have front legs,” Sammataro said.
Born without both front legs, Louie still manages to get around.
“He just hopped around like you just saw,” Sammataro said.
But his owners, Pat and Pete Sammataro, wanted to help him do more.
“The way he walks now isn’t very conducive to getting very far out of the neighborhood,” Sammataro said.
They tried several different harnesses and a two-wheeled cart but nothing worked.
“He’d tip back and forth and eventually he’d tip over and do a somersault,” Sammataro said.
Then, they heard about a UW engineering class looking for a community project.
They brought the students Louie’s cart to see what they could do.
“They were able to use about half of the materials from that cart and add on some extra balancing,” Katie Kalscheur, UW Engineering Lecturer, said.
The students added smaller wheels for stability and a few months later, Louie had a wheelchair.
“All along, it’s maybe been nicknamed the ‘Wheels for Louie’ project,” Kalscheur said.
Armed with a tub of hot-dogs.
“We call this the nuclear option,” Sammataro said.
The Sammataros help Louie practice with his new wheelchair.
“I think he wants to go for a walk, he wants to go out and explore,” Sammataro said.
And every day, he’s getting a little closer to taking his first steps out into the neighborhood.
“Good job Louie, I’m so proud of you,” Sammataro said.
They’re still working on getting Louie used to his new wheels.
He’s only had it for about two weeks.
Eventually, they would love to take him on daily walks.