Disabled dogs revved up their wheelchairs to gather at a New York City dog run for a wheelie dogs meet-up, all in support of a great cause.
Pandora the paralyzed dachshund was one of about a dozen pups that zoomed around on their wheelchairs during the fifth annual WagAware’s Wheels on Wall Street event.
“So rewarding,” Pandora’s owner, Marissa Mastellone, told InsideEdition.com. “Lots of barking and even more than that, lots of grateful pet parents.”
She explained that Pandora, now 14 years old, was a healthy and happy dog until she was suddenly stricken with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
“The disc was progressive and after a second episode, the discs burst [and] caused pressure on the spinal cord,” Mastellone said. “While I rushed her to the ER veterinarian, they were unable to reverse the impact. I was devastated.”
But thankfully a supportive community of pet parents who have dogs with special needs of their own encouraged her to keep her head up and adapt their lifestyle to suit Pandora’s new needs.
From teaching Pandora how to use the bathroom to helping her learn to use her new wheels, Mastellone said her journey back to health was long but fulfilling.
“She started running and playing and loving life, and we were okay,” Mastellone said. “Not the easiest task but so rewarding.”
Because of their journey, Mastellone was inspired to team up with different rescues and nonprofits including WagAware, LoveyLoaves and now Wheels on Wall Street to help raise awareness and money for dogs with special needs.
“So many of us pet parents in this community have face paced, crazy work lives … until we took on the role of special needs pet parent we couldn’t find that balance,” Mastellone said. “[We support] each other and [share] how we did it for the next wave of special needs pet parents.”