Willa and Webster are a pair of sibling Chihuahua/dachshunds who were born with no front legs. They were rescued by Mutts’n Stuff Rescue in LA after being dropped off at a high-kill shelter in Lancaster, CA. Jenna Bell took these delightful little dogs into her rescue determined to give them every chance to have a full happy life. In December 2009, she took them for a cart fitting at California Animal Rehab in Santa Monica, where Amy Kramer measured them for their carts from Eddie’s Wheels.
We were charmed by their adoption day video, and were thinking that it was time to start looking for some younger dogs to be our Eddie’s Wheels mascots. Daisy, our dachshund, is now 15 years old, and while she’s still rolling strong, she no longer has the stamina to work at vet conferences and doggie events. She’s tired. And Sweet Pea, our adorable pitbull, just doesn’t fit under the airplane seat for distance trips.
Last year alone, Eddie’s Wheels built about 100 front wheel carts. We felt that it was time we learned what it was like to live with dogs with front leg disabilities, so we could improve the product and the service we offer our customers. There is some art involved in balancing the cart properly and then training a dog to use it – we felt that experience would be our best teacher.
So on January 13, 2009, Leslie flew to California to pick up Willa and Webster and bring these two California kids to snowy New England. Tracie Jorgensen, who was their daycare foster mom, came along on the trip to give them some transition, and also to check out their new digs.
They are a delight! They are puppies – full of fun and mischief! Willa learned to drive her cart almost instantly, mastering steering with her rear legs, backing up, and lifting the cart over doorsills within a week. Webster, because of his deformed front legs, has more physical therapy issues to contend with – but will march anywhere for treats. We intend to get both dogs certified as Therapy Dogs so that they can visit schools, nursing homes and VA hospitals. Willa will return to LA for her first gig as company mascot at the American Animal Hospital Association Annual Convention in Long Beach, CA in mid-March.
Watch their videos on youtube.com – search words: Willa and Webster
Update October 2012:
Willa and Webster have taught us alot the finer points of designing front wheel carts. Because of the insight we’ve gained from working with them, our front wheel cart division has continued to expand. They have inspired people all over the world – we’ve exported front wheel carts to Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Germany, the U.K. and Finland.