Prosthetic Center to Make Leg for Puppy

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Rex Miller has made artificial limbs for lots of humans, but never for a dog. Until now. Miller, owner of the Greater Flint Prosthetic Center, made a cast last week that will guide him on how to make a new leg for 4-month-old Peg, a puppy born without an ankle joint or right paw.

"She'll be able to walk and run better, but she'll probably always still have a little hitch in her giddyup," said Miller, who lost his own right leg trying to jump a train when he was 15.

Making an artificial leg for a puppy can be tricky. It could be attached to the dog's leg with a harness or a Velcro-type material. To prevent her from chewing on the leg, it will be made of material similar to bulletproof vests.

Veterinarians with Baker College's training program put Peg under anesthesia and took X-rays to help Miller make the leg. Baker joined Miller in doing the work for free because Peg's owner, Carol Beavnier, works for a nonprofit organization.

Beavnier trains dogs to become leader dogs for the blind. Peg eventually will be a therapy dog, visiting nursing home patients. She's already a big hit with seniors, Beavnier told The Flint Journal.

Beavnier, of Macomb County's Macomb Township, tried to create a homemade artificial leg, using bandages and a plastic cone, but it never worked. So she looked up a Web site for handicapped pets, and a few phone calls later found Miller.

"I want people to know this option is out there," Beavnier said.

Such work would normally cost several thousand dollars, Miller said.

Peg jumped and wagged her tail before going under the anesthetic.

"When she walks and runs, she tries to use her missing leg," Beavnier said. "She loves to hug and kiss and play tug and ball."


Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.flintjournal.com

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