Meet the dogs who need WHEELCHAIRS to get around – and have physiotherapy in their owner’s bathtub
Caring Mary Fayet is dedicated to improving the lives of disabled animals, and said: “When we go out for a walk people cheer and always smile at her
A woman helped a puppy walk again by having a special wheelchair made and giving her physiotherapy in the bathtub.
Mary Fayet, who works as a personal assistant, fostered Pekinese Lexi after she was dumped at a rescue centre near her home.
The disabled pooch could not walk so Mrs Fayet, 54, came up with the idea of building a wheelchair for her.
It worked so well she adopted another paralysed dog, Pumpkin, who was left unable to walk after suffering a broken back.
But now the pair zoom around their home in New York.
Mrs Fayet, who lives with husband Tom Fayet, 57, said: “We need to install traffic lights.
“They’re always zooming around the house.
“Pumpkin was only meant to be fostered temporarily, but the two got on so well we just couldn’t separate them.”
Miss Fayet has fostered many dogs through rescue charity Posh Pets Rescue.
It was in November 2012 that she learned about Lexi.
She said: “The rescue owner called me and asked me to take in a three-month-old pup whose front legs hadn’t developed properly.
“Her owners weren’t able to cope with her disability so were giving her up to be rescued.
“I went to pick her up and fell in love after five minutes.
“She was hopping around on her back legs like a kangaroo, with her front legs hanging helplessly.”
Initially she was too small for a wheelchair so was lame.
Her owner said: “The fear was Lexi was too small for a wheelchair and would grow out of it too quickly, so we waited.
“I swaddled her in clothes, so she wouldn’t develop sores when she dragged herself around.
“I gave her a swim in the bath every night to strengthen her muscles.
“When she was seven months we ordered her a specially made chair.
“When I strapped her in for the first time, she didn’t move.
“She was too bewildered, eventually I managed to get her to move. But she could only manage to spin in circles.
“So I taught her to steer, clipping her lead to the harness and pulling her in the direction I wanted her to go.”
But in no time, she was wheeling around and there was no stopping her.
Mrs Fayet said: “I dressed her in little outfits to protect her and stop her wheelchair rubbing her skin.
“She has tutus and lots of bright-coloured coats as well as a sailor costume.
“When we go out for a walk people cheer and always smile at her.”
In October 2013, she took in Pumpkin, then eight, who was found in Brooklyn with a broken back.
She said: “It was only meant to be temporary but Pumpkin and Lexi bonded immediately and I knew we couldn’t separate them.
“We considered giving Pumpkin surgery on her spine but there was only a five per cent chance of it working.
“It seemed so unfair to put her through all that pain.
“So we ordered her a chair like Lexi’s.
Within days, Pumpkin was equally taken with her new wheels chasing Lexi around.
In March this year, the pair took part in the New York Pet Fashion Show run by Ada Nieves, a well-known pet fashion designer.
Mrs Fayet said: “Walking Lexi and Pumpkin down the catwalk, I loved every minute.
“Lexi wore a pink psychedelic-style dress and Pumpkin modelled a 60s-style coat with a peace sign.”
The couple have now taken in a new dog on wheels, Williams a five-year-old poodle mix who had been abandoned at a shelter and came to Posh Pets.
He has a disc injury meaning he cannot walk.
Mrs Fayet said: “We have three waggy wheelers now and we love them all.
“They look out for each other and the bond is really beautiful to watch.”