Written by Lauren Namer of PetSave
W e have all heard that dynamite comes in small packages… but what we at PetSave have learnt is that sometimes dynamite can come in the form of a precious, disabled Jack Russell!
Smartie, aptly named after the well-known chocolate buttons for his colourful personality, is a small, three-year-old Jack Russell boy who, although born with deformed front legs, never let it get him down, teaching himself to get around by jumping, hopping and sliding along on his chest.
Smartie was born in Port Elizabeth and only came to PetSave a few months ago after his family no longer wanted him. We at PetSave concentrate on “special needs” animals and were delighted to take him in after hearing about him. We knew that we would be able to provide him with the care and rehabilitation he so deserved.
We fell in love with Smartie the moment he arrived. He loved being introduced to our home and other animals and we knew he was happy by his profusely-wagging tail. He settled in quickly and showed us that he could do almost anything four-legged dogs like to do, such as chasing birds, playing rough and tumble with other dogs, and pushing in to get a good tummy tickle.
Happiness is …
Smartie is a loving, inquisitive, smart and very happy little chap with a big heart, who really doesn’t see himself any different from other dogs. He adores socialising with new people or animals, visiting friends, car rides and his daily park outings, where he loves to explore, socialise, smell and hop around.
As happy as Smartie is, it was heartbreaking for us when we first got him to see the amount of strain his neck and chest had to sustain while he hopped around. We decided to look into getting him a wheel cart, to make his life easier.
Tracy Harries, a special lady who owns Equi-aid – a company that helps disabled animals in South Africa – found out we were looking for a doggy wheel cart and called us, offering to make and donate a custom-built wheel cart.
Since then, we have been assisting Smartie with his rehabilitation. Some of this involves training him to walk using his back legs individually and not to hop with them simultaneously as he has grown accustomed to doing. In addition, we are also getting him used to being strapped in his wheel cart, which has proved to be no easy task due to his colourful and energetic spirit! Smartie has spent the last three years hopping around, so it’s all he knows. This means he will often hop right out of his wheel cart without a second thought.
We are still making changes to the wheel cart in order to make it easier for him to move around and be more stable, and we hope that one day soon Smartie will be able to use his wheel cart on his own at the park and will finally be off his chest.
Smartie, who is also known by some as T-Rex (due to the adorable sitting position he takes up at times and his under-developed front legs), really is a special little boy and an inspiration to all of us, and we hope that by telling his story, others will find a way to help disabled animals in their community.
SMARTIE FINDS HIS FOREVER HOME
We are very happy to report that little Smartie has been adopted by Ronnie Magic. He has already joined his new pack (and the W&G team) in his Forever Home and is settling in well.