Minnesota Teen Builds Free Wheelchairs for Disabled Dogs and Cats – And Soon a Duck
A Minnesota high schooler with a passion for disabled animals has made giving them mobility her mission. Two years ago, after studying some YouTube tutorials followed by a process of trial and error, 16-year-old Shaine Kilyun embarked on the enterprise of making hand-crafted pet wheelchairs for animals in need.
More than mere creature comfort, the mobility devices Kilyun manufactures in her spare time are changing furry lives for the better, and even saving animals that might otherwise be put down.
“I just love animals, and I wanted to make a difference somehow,” Kilyun told FOX-9. she said. “I’ve saved a few lives, and I really hope to save more.”
Since launching Wheelies Dog and Cat Wheelchairs that offers “custom, handmade, and low-cost wheelchairs for specially-abled dogs, cats & pets,” Kilyun has only charged for the cost of her materials.
The savings are often substantial—$300 for one of her creations, versus $1,000 for similar devices for large-breed dogs from more traditional sources.
To date, the tireless teen has put together close to a dozen front-support, full-support, and back-support models, depending on the animal’s particular needs and has designed mobility devices for everything from a tiny Chihuahua in Ohio to a Great Dane in Oregon.
In addition to dogs and cats, she’s also come up with a one-of-a-kind locomotion aid for a hedgehog. Next on her drawing board? A purpose-built duck-mobile.
As was her hope from the beginning, Kilyun has expanded her outreach to include shelter pets. She met one of her latest clients, Scooter, a paraplegic pup who came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia via the Home For Life Animal Sanctuary, an organization that offers a chance for life to pets that might be considered unadoptable.
Lisa Leverdiere, who works with the nonprofit, notes that in times like these when it’s difficult to raise money, Kilyun’s efforts are especially appreciated.
Kilyun is determined to keep up the good work, and while times may be hard, she says she’s thrilled by the generous folks who are still willing to contribute financial help to cover her costs. “A lot of people have reached out and donated, which is just incredible,” she told FOX-9.