The paralyzed dog found abandoned in downtown Riverhead in mid-December has been adopted from the Riverhead Animal Shelter to an exotic new home in Illinois.
Chipper, a 10-year-old border collie found shivering, emaciated and struggling to move due to an unknown injury that left his back legs paralyzed, has been adopted by Pinky and Roland Janota, owners of the Settlers Pond Shelter in Beecher Illinois, a rescue shelter for exotic animals, said North Fork Animal Welfare League executive director Gillian Wood Pultz.
Chipper will be free to roll in his custom wheelchair at the 60-acre not-for-profit Illinois facility — home to kangaroos, zebras, and even monkeys who have special needs similar to his.
When the couple heard of Chipper’s situation, they decided to adopt him as their own, to live with them in their ranch home on the property.
The shelter will be able to offer him different therapies, such as hydrotherapy and acupuncture, which are otherwise unavailable at the Youngs Avenue shelter, said Ms. Pultz, who credited the power of social media for getting Chipper’s story out.
Since Chipper was rescued, three different veterinarians have cared for him — each unable to determine exactly what is wrong with his legs.
“Right now it is very degenerative and very aggressive so we’re hoping to pinpoint what’s wrong,” Ms. Janota said. “We’re going to do some extensive testing and try to treat him, or at least stop it from progressing any further.”
Ms. Janota said they hope to include Chipper in a hospital therapy program — partnering him up with another paralyzed animal — a kangaroo named Mr. Jingles, who is also in a wheelchair.
The two will visit children and adults at nearby hospitals and nursing homes who are facing similar medical situations or who just need companionship.
“They see the animals will and how well they are doing, and just maybe give the people and the kids a better outlook on life,” Ms. Janota said.