Christina Ring thinks superheroes live among us. Whenever she sees a paralyzed dog, she envisions them as caped superheroes who deserve a wonderful life. That was my takeaway from the interview I did with Christina, who is the founder of the nonprofit group, Wheeling Superheroes. The organization awards brand new dog wheelchairs to handicapped dogs in need.
Pugly was the inspiration for Wheeling Superheroes
Christina adopted Pugly when he was 6 months old. She described him as a happy dog who saw joy in everything and everyone. In 2016, the little pug developed a neurologic condition that affected the coordination of his hind legs. Christina bought him a dog wheelchair and for a while Pugly went back to being his happy-go-lucky self.
That’s when Christina began to post on Instagram about Pugly and his brother Smokey and their daily adventures. But with Pugly in a wheelchair, the dogs’ antics became very popular. Pugly and Smokey became Instagram stars with 40,000 followers.
Sadly, Smokey passed away at the end of 2017 and Pugly followed in January 2018.
Christina decided to put aside her grief and took the opportunity to continue her dogs’ Instagram fame to help handicapped dogs. She began to raise money to buy dog wheelchairs for pups in need.
How the Wheeling Superheroes program works
Christina teamed up with her dear friend Ozge and the two women applied for status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Their goal was to create a group that would award new dog wheelchairs to pet families in need. They realized the cost of a wheelchair could prevent some owners from being able to afford rehab treatments or surgeries. But the gift of a new cart would relieve that financial stress. It would also make paralyzed dogs happy by getting them mobile again.
Christina structured Wheeling Superheroes so that 100 percent of your donation goes toward the purchase of a cart. Volunteers and private donors cover the group’s operating expenses.
Applying to Wheeling Superheroes for handicapped dogs in need
Pet owners are asked to complete an application on the Wheeling Superheroes website. The group also likes to receive a letter from your dog’s veterinarian that confirms a cart will benefit your canine.
And if your dog isn’t under the care of a veterinarian, Wheeling Superheroes accepts a video of your dog.
Each application is evaluated on an individual basis.
Christina said the application process is very organized and applicants receive automated updates about their status. They also get regular updates as the funds are raised for their dog’s wheelchair.
It’s also an easy process to donate to Wheeling Superheroes. People can sponsor an individual dog who is waiting for a cart or they can purchase merchandise at the Superheroes store. Both are done on the Wheeling Superheroes website.
Pugs have a specific form of paralysis known as Pug Myelopathy. Click here to read about Advances In Understanding Pug Myelopathy
And for pet families who want to donate a used cart
Wheeling Superheroes has partnered with the amazing nonprofit organization, Rescued Rollers. The founder of this group has been generously refurbishing gently used carts for years. John fixes dog wheelchairs and then donates them to pet families in need. Wheeling Superheroes is happy to put donors in touch with this group.
Life today for Christina and her new pups
A lot has changed since January. Wheeling Superheroes has awarded more than 50 brand new dog wheelchairs.
Christina and her 3-year-old Pug Bernie just welcomed a new dog to the family. Lulu is a little Pug Christina had been fostering. She came to them with cysts on her spine that limited her mobility. When we talked, Lulu was 6 weeks post-surgery and starting to walk. And Christina was taking care of her daughter’s border-collie mix.
In our final part of the interview I asked Christina what she had learned from the experience of helping paralyzed dogs.
“I was shocked to learn that many veterinarians’ advice euthanasia for dogs who are paralyzed. I’ve learned that disabled dogs can have happy lives with the proper tools. Life with a paralyzed dog goes on and gets even better than I knew. Pets deserve a chance. And Wheeling Superheroes is there to help.”