Born with neurological issues and rear leg deformities, special needs dog Jett suffered so much he could barely move. Dogs like Jett don’t normally find suitable homes and are at great risk of being put down due to their special needs. However, when he weighed just 1.7 pounds, he was adopted by Amy Jo Martin, an elderly attorney from Wilkes County, North Carolina who has been involved in dog rescue for more than 25 years. Changing the lives of dogs with special needs is Martin’s mission. During her journey, she realized that 3D printing could help create personalized wheelchairs, helmets, prostheses and other vital equipment that improve the quality of life of animals with disabilities and, in some cases, their save life.
Before Martin discovered 3D printing, she spent a lot of money on equipment for dogs with special needs, even testing three different brands that made small dog carts online, but struggled to fit one on one. so little pup like Jett. After trying several quad wheelchairs, she realized that Jett would never adapt to such heavy products. It was only after his family gave him a Mega S Anycubic FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer last Christmas that Martin discovered the potential of the technology.
“After some trial and error, I made Jett a quadruple wheelchair. Granted, it wasn’t fancy or pretty, but it worked for him – and that’s what counted,” Martin described. A properly fitted 3D printed wheelchair could help a puppy learn to walk normally on all fours and would help the puppy with gait as well as bone and soft tissue development.In addition, the 3D printed wheelchair is inexpensive to make and can be replaced with a larger one as the puppy grows.Once the puppy has reached adult size, the owner can invest in a professionally made prosthesis.
The 3D-printed wheelchair helped Jett master walking on his back knees, which Martin says also helped his sense of balance. As a result, he is quite quick when moving around the room to play with the other dogs in Martin’s household (including many elderly and disabled pets). But Jett was not yet free. While the wheelchair only addressed one of the dog’s disabilities, he still suffered from cerebellar hypoplasia, meaning the part of his brain that involves his coordination and sense of balance was not fully developed. before birth. As a result, Jett’s walk is quite wobbly and, like many Chihuahuas, Jett has open fontanels (these are “weak spots” on his skull), which make him dangerous if he falls and hits his head on the unprotected part of his skull. So Jett needed a helmet to protect his head when he was learning to walk.
After finding no information about the helmet online, Amy planned to make one using 3D printing. Fortunately, Rebecca Clark, a member of the Anycubic team, heard about Martin’s touching story and ensured that the company donated two Anycubic Vyper 3D Printers to help make the items his animals needed. With fast and reliable auto bed leveling, a spacious build volume, and a beginner-friendly experience, Martin handled his prints very well in a short time and made two different types of helmets for Jett, using files free 3D printables she found online. As a result, Jett is now fully rescued, has a wheelchair to move around freely, and Martin has kept 3D printing helmets to protect her head as she grows.
Martin added that “just like a prosthetic leg, if a puppy grows they will need a helmet that can be replaced inexpensively as their head grows. Once the puppy is an adult, the owner can have a helmet made by a professional.”
Special needs dogs like Jett, who require extra care, can still live full and happy lives. It just takes patience and a little help from disruptive technologies like 3D printing. No matter the animal’s disability, whether it’s a missing limb or three, there are so many resources today and so much love from people like Martin, who surround themselves with wonderful animals.
After discovering the world of dogs like Jett, Martin explains that they have incredibly adaptable natures and can change people’s lives regardless of their limitations. That’s why Martin and many rescue groups want to step in and help others foster or adopt disabled dogs.
According to surveys conducted by Petfinder.com, 95% of rescues surveyed currently have pets they would describe as “hard to adopt.” And while the typical pet spends about 12 weeks in shelters before finding a new home, pets with special needs and senior pets spend nearly four times as long at an animal adoption site. Unfortunately, some misconceptions about pets with special needs may categorize pets with difficult mobility and disabilities as “hard to adopt.”
Martin thinks otherwise, and she hopes her amazing experience with Anycubic’s 3D printers will inspire others interested in 3D printing to help special animals with mobility devices. Martin says she can do so much more for them, so she hopes to lend her extra wheelchairs to people who need them for short periods of time, helping other puppies in the same situation as Jett.
”I would like to see other people take an interest in 3D printing. You don’t have to be young, have a lot of computer experience, or be male… you just need a desire to help. I wish more people like me would join a group to help special animals with mobility items. I would like to learn from people who have more knowledge than me. I would like people to offer to help create STLs that can be used for non-profit purposes. I wish 3D printing companies would care about people using their printers to help others (filament is still needed),” Martin suggests.
As a strong supporter of these animals, Martin has advised others interested in adopting dogs with special needs and recommends anyone in doubt about adopting pets like Jett to start with them. encourage for short periods to know if they are ready to take the next one. stage. Anyone interested can learn more by connecting with amazing shelters committed to improving the lives of disabled animals across the United States, including Lovey Loaves has special needs, Canine Castaways, Inc., Mutt Misfits Animal Rescue, Rescue of perfectly imperfect animalsand that of Amy Jo Martin Facebook page.