In November of 2021, an adorable American Bully named James was surrendered to Pitties.Love.Peace based out of Elizabethtown, PA. When James arrived he was taken in by Shannon Ryan, a volunteer at the shelter, and her husband Bryan Hughes.
Instantly, Shannon knew that something was wrong with James as he was unable to use his back legs. James, now changed to Jimmy, Jam, or even Jimothy, was taken to the vet for evaluation. Shannon describes the visit, saying, "He had to go to several different vets and we ended up at a neurologist who did an MRI. The MRI showed that the end of Jimmy’s spine is twisted like a corkscrew and could not be fixed with surgery. "
He was only eight weeks old when he was taken in, and has since developed a routine with Shannon and Bryan, despite his challenges getting around. Jimmy is not able to pull himself on slippery surfaces and must be carried from room to room. "We always make sure to bring Jimmy into the kitchen if we’re cooking dinner, or put him outside when the weather is nice," says Shannon. Shannon also has four other dogs and they have all acclimated well to their new friend. In fact, her two year old Pitbull has figured out how to play with him, which always makes Jimmy happy!
Recently, Jimmy was gifted set of wheels to support his back legs, allowing him to get around much easier. Another volunteer for Pitties.Love.Peace, Audrey Lilley, heard about Community Based Outreach class at Elizabethtown College and submitted Jimmy as an applicant. The students ultimately chose Jimmy and began working on how they could help him.
They first met with the students in January to take measurements and brainstorm. The students, Shannon, and Jimmy continued to meet every few weeks to take new measurements and go through several iterations of the wheelchair. At the beginning of May, the chair was complete and Jimmy could begin acclimating to his new wheels.
Up next for Jimmy, is practice, practice, practice! "Because Jimmy has been pulling himself around for his entire life (about eight and a half months), we need to train his muscles to be in a standing position. It’s a slow process, but he’s improving day by day," explained Shannon.
With his new set of wheels, Jimmy is able to continue his favorite activities, which include laying outside in the grass, playing with the other dogs, and tearing squeaker toys apart! Shannon describes Jimmy as, "playful, affectionate, and strong!"
When Big Barker heard about Jimmy's story, we knew he needed the most comfortable place to rest after a long day of practice! Jimmy recently received his very own Big Barker to help with his recovery and share a place to snuggle up with the other pups in his family.
Check out the video below to see Jimmy in action with his wheelchair!
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