Nfld. & Labrador

Worldwide effort to get disabled St. John's dog on the move

Kathryn Power says she's overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers from Ontario to Australia to help her Irish wolfhound, Wesley.

Irish wolfhound's front legs badly damaged by dysplasia, arthritis

Kathryn Power estimates that more than $80,000 has been spent on care for her two-year-old Irish wolfhound, Wesley. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Kathryn Power is overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who are volunteering their time and skills to help her gentle giant, Wesley.

Sadly, the 185-pound Irish wolfhound is house bound because his front legs are badly damaged by dysplasia and arthritis. 

Suddenly this cart has become 'Wes-jet.' It's going to be Wesley's cart called Wes-jet.- Kathryn Power

But Power says she's been amazed by the response since she went online looking for advice about transportation for Wesley. 

"It's snowballed. It's really turned into a thing. People from Ontario and even Australia are helping me build a dog cart for Wesley," said Power.

Wesley's front legs are badly damaged by dysplasia and arthritis. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Offer from Ontario

Power said plans to build Wesley's cart began with an offer from a man in Sudbury, Ont., named Chad Kingsley.

"He said, 'I need to help you. It's not sitting well with me that he can't get outside. So, I'm going to build this for you.' He owns a metal fabrication shop and does some welding," she said.

After that call, another Ontario shop offered to donate parts for the dog cart — and a woman in Australia offered to make original art to decorate the cart.

"Suddenly this cart has become 'Wes-jet.' It's going to be Wesley's cart called Wes-jet," she said.

But the final piece fell into place once Newfoundland company, Akita Equipment and Auto Transport, offered to bring the cart to St. John's. Akita regularly ships from Ontario.

"We're hoping within a month we'll have his wheels," said Power.

"So he can ride with his whole body off the ground on a cart. I asked Chad to please make sure there are brakes on the cart, because Wesley is a very large dog and if we start going down a hill, we might get in trouble."

Kathryn Power says Wesley still manages to get around, but walks to the park have become increasingly rare. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Thousands spent on medical care

In his short life, Wesley has already had tens of thousands of dollars' worth of medical care.

Power estimates that over the last two years about $80,000 has been spent on travel and surgeries to treat Wesley's deteriorating joints. She has pet insurance and has done some fundraising to cover some of those costs.

It's a lot of money, but Power said she has trouble articulating just how powerfully she feels connected to Wesley. 

"To know that I can do something, anything, to make him feel better," Power said.

"There are no words for that."

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