Where There’s a Will, There is a Way: The Story of William

The Story of William
Told by Urban Rodriguez, Animal Services Officer

Urban Rodriguez posing with William the Dachshund in his cart

William is a Dachshund that came to the shelter on August 1, 2013 by way of a concerned citizen who found him by the side of the roadway. Upon arrival he seemed to be normal in a sitting position, but soon it was discovered that William’s back legs were paralyzed. It didn’t seem to hold him back much since he was found running down the road with another little dog. I was not on shift when he had been brought in shortly before 5:00 p.m. on August 1st, so when I returned to work the following day I began the normal routine of letting all the small dogs out to play in their outside area while their kennel is being cleaned. When I opened the door of this little guy’s kennel, I noticed he was not moving. I thought that maybe he was a bit shy since he had just arrived and loved the comfort and safety of the bed. I put a leash on him and gave it a little tug and that is when I saw William jump, or should I say, slide into action. With one hop he was out of the bed and sliding his way down the kennel hall, ready to go outside. I was amazed to see how well he was doing. He never slowed down as he followed me outside. The other dogs did not bother him at all and aside from the obvious, he acted no differently than his little group. As I watched him, I became impressed with this dog’s bravery and heart to keep going in spite of his paralysis. I noticed that William had a few small wounds and calluses on his paws and underbelly. I decided in that very moment that this guy needs some wheels! I expressed my feelings to a few people at the shelter and it was decided that William would get a new wheelchair. As word spread, and with a donation from one of our faithful volunteers, I was able to get the materials needed to help William move around more smoothly.

William has been a good sport through all of the fittings for his cart. He became a little frustrated with me as I measured and lifted him, trying to make sure everything was comfortable before putting his new cart in motion. After a bit of trial and error, I recruited help to make sure I was on track and to see if there was anything else needed that would make his new set of wheels better for him. That is where another awesome volunteer stepped in, opening my eyes to a couple of new ideas. We immediately went to work on an upgrade. After a full day of preparation and several trial runs by William, we were able to fine-tune the little cart, arriving at a custom fit. After a few more final touches, a little more love and a pup that exhibited lots of patience, William finally got his wheels. To see him perk up and move around was an awesome feeling! He was cruising with no problems whatsoever!

What began as simple idea, became one of the most meaningful things in which I have EVER been involved. With one person stopping to pick up a crippled little dog, this act of kindness grew into something so much bigger. Now, not only does William have a new perspective on life, so do I.