Wheelchair-bound dog inspired by mountain climbing dog’s legacy
VICTORIA -- When Boo was younger she had the personality of a canine Curious George.
“She was always getting into trouble,” her owner Kimanda says. “And she didn’t care what happened to her afterwards.”
Boo’s fearlessness proved the be a perfect fit for Kimanda. The dynamic duo spent years rock-climbing together. But, one day, Boo jumbled off a boulder, broke her spine, and received a devastating diagnosis.
“[The veterinarian said] she was probably not going to live,” Kimanda recalls. “She had stopped breathing. Her back legs were paralyzed.”
Kimanda sent Boo for surgery in Vancouver and then physiotherapy in Victoria until she received a call from they vet.
“The doctor said, ‘I went in and checked on the patient,’” Kimanda says. “’She was wagging her tail. I think she’s going to be okay.’”
Boo was more than okay for more than 8 years after that, until the combination of age and nerve damage from the accident required her to get a custom-made wheelchair.
“She adapted to them really quickly,” Kimanda smiles. “She went everywhere.”
Boo was unstoppable for more than a year a half until she had to visit the emergency animal hospital. A stranger named Sarah was waiting there too.
“Boo came right up to me,” Sarah says. “She was so sweet and pushed her little head into me.”
Sarah’s dog — Oscar — also has a spinal cord injury. Sarah rescued him from Bangkok after seeing a video that showed him with immobile back legs dragging himself out of a bush.
“He was so sweet,” Sarah says. “It looked like he just needed a chance.”
Sarah brought him home and dubbed him Oscar Myer Wheeler, after his made-in-Thailand, often-tipped-over-chair.
Oscar was wheeling next to Sarah when a woman driving by pulled over and said hello. It was Kimanda.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God! It’s Boo’s mom!’” Sarah recalls. “How’s Boo?!”
They hadn’t seen each other since that brief meeting at the vet hospital.
Kimanda said that Boo had died just a few days earlier and she was filled with sadness.
“It was compounded by [the pandemic] we’re going through. It felt really hopeless,” Kimanda says. “And then this moment happened, finding Oscar and Sarah.”
Kimanda says she felt compelled to give Boo’s custom wheelchair to Oscar.
They pair arranged to meet, but because Boo had a unique body shape they were unsure if the wheelchair would fit Oscar.
“I put Oscar in the wheels, did the strap, and just took a step back,” Sarah says. “We both just looked and started crying.”
It fit him perfectly and Oscar’s confidence seemed to increase immediately. He went running down some stairs and didn’t tip over.
“Boo’s legacy is that Oscar is going to have a much better quality of life,” Kimanda smiles. “And keep Boo’s fearlessness and curiosity alive.”
“We’ll kind of honour Boo’s memory,” Sarah agrees. “And take [Oscar] on as many adventures as we can!”