After a first set of prosthetics, Cola now has new ‘bouncy’ blades to run on.
Cola the two-legged dog has scored an Asian first – he’s the first dog in the world to be fitted with blades of the kind used by Paralympic sprinters.
And he took to his new legs like a champion, racing up and down the beach on his blades within minutes of having them installed.
When he was a pup in Bangkok, Cola had his front legs chopped off with a sword after he chewed a neighbour’s shoes.
He was brought to the holiday island of Phuket by Gill Dalley, a founder of the Soi Dog Foundation which, among other things, rescues and treats sick and injured dogs and cats.
Gill felt an immediate affinity with Cola – she had herself lost both legs after contracting septicaemia that almost killed her, and was fitted with prosthetics by Bengt Soderberg, owner of the Scandinavian Orthopaedic Laboratory in Phuket and the Director of Center of Excellence Prosthetics and Orthotics at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok.
She went to him and asked if he could do the same for Cola. He said he would try.
Initially, Cola was fitted with straight glass fibre extension for his legs, but these had no bounce in them, and were heavy. So, Bengt set about inventing extensions based on Paralympian blades.
Sadly, Gill died in February this year (2017) before Cola got his latest legs, but her husband John said, after the pup’s first excursion to the beach with his new legs, “We are so happy to see Cola running with his new legs.
“Dogs certainly learn how to use prosthetics faster than human do, and it is great to see him play and run like the other dogs.”
“He was just six months old when his terrible ordeal happened. Like a lot of puppies, he liked to chew things that were lying around, including the neighbour’s boots.
“The neighbour complained to Cola’s owner, who offered to compensate him for the damage.
“But it seems that the neighbour wasn’t satisfied with the offer. He came back that night and hacked off Cola’s front legs, using a sword.”
Bengt was intrigued with the challenge of helping Cola.
“Gill lost both her legs about 10 years ago and I made prosthetics for her. When she mentioned to me that she had a dog who had also lost his front legs, I knew that the most natural thing for me was to help.
Gill Dalley, co-founder of Soi Dog Phuket, died in February this year.
“Cola is the first dog I have made bilateral legs for and we have been tweaking the prosthetics so that they don’t bother him, or at least to keep the disturbance to a minimum.
“The new legs took about a year to create and are very similar to what professional athletes use in the Paralympics. We used the same carbon fibre, same structure and same suspension.
“This provides Cola with maximum flexibility combined with low weight, allowing him to run and play like the other dogs do.”
Cola’s comment? A huge puppy grin.
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