I came across a story this week about a group of pet owners in Bangkok, Thailand who are making the lives of handicapped dogs and cats better through a DIY wheelchair building class. The story put a huge smile on my face so I decided to share it with you.
First here are a few facts about the people of Thailand. According to the World Economic Forum, Thailand is the 13th friendliest country in the world and its citizens are one of the most animal friendly. Every year the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple holds an annual “Monkey Buffet” for the 600 monkeys that live on the premises. The monkeys are invited to feast on tons of grilled sausage, fresh fruit, ice cream and other treats. The local people see it as a way to say thank you to the monkeys for attracting thousands of tourists to the village each year to see them.
It also appears countrymen in Thailand care deeply about disabled dogs and cats. The Chulalongkorn University School of Veterinary Science held its first ever seminar to teach pet parents how to be better caretakers of handicapped pets and how to build a homemade pet wheelchair.
The University’s first DIY pet wheelchair building class was a huge success. More than 170 people attended the daylong seminar that taught them to construct a dog wheelchair from PVC pipes, nylon straps and wheels used for toys.
Some people attended the class because they wanted to learn how to make a wheelchair for their own disabled pet while others were there to help stray animals.
One woman went to the seminar so she could build a cart for her two year-old cat named Doraemon who became paralyzed after getting into a fight with a larger cat. Doraemon had been homeless and living at a nearby temple when the woman rescued him. The cat has become the woman’s constant companion and goes to work with her every day at the stand where she sells bread.
A retired teacher made sure he was at the seminar so he could make a wheelchair for his 15 year-old dog Poh Poh, who suffers from herniated discs and arthritis. Mr. Thares raised Poh Poh from a puppy and he now wanted to make the dog comfortable in his final years.
“Owners of disabled pets want their pets to walk again, so we taught them how to put the materials together to create a wheelchair,” said Dr. Warangkhana, a veterinarian who works with the Chakr Pichaironnarongsongkram Foundation that sponsored the seminar. The group is the only manufacturer of pet wheelchairs.
Dr. Warangkhana was pleased with the number of people who came to the class for the sake of disabled stray dogs and cats. She said that people are concerned for the animals, but don’t know how to help them. With the skills they learned at the seminar, these animal lovers could now build hundreds of wheelchairs for homeless pets.
Before the class pet owners had to wait months to receive a wheelchair from the foundation. Now they have the ability to build one on their own from materials they can easily purchase.
Question: Do you think U.S. cities should hold DIY wheelchair building seminars for disabled pets?
Photo: Bangkok Post