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Dog's new lease of life - thanks to a wheelchair

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 06 July 2010

Charlie and his specially designed  wheelchair.

Charlie and his specially designed wheelchair.

A couple who feared their chronically ill dog would have to be put down have given him a new lease of life - with a specially-adapted wheelchair.

Nick and Sue Masters, of Saham Toney, near Watton, discovered their 11-year-old rough collie Charlie had developed a terminal illness that left his back legs useless just after Christmas.

A couple who feared their chronically ill dog would have to be put down have given him a new lease of life - with a specially-adapted wheelchair.

Nick and Sue Masters, of Saham Toney, near Watton, discovered their 11-year-old rough collie Charlie had developed a terminal illness that left his back legs useless just after Christmas.

But determined to fight for their pet's life, the pair have given him a new found happiness thanks to a wheelchair designed specifically for disabled dogs.

Nicknamed Charlie's chariot, after the much loved pet, the disability equipment has returned the collie to his regular two walks a day and has even allowed him to embark on a trip to Dorset.

“Before we had the wheelchair Charlie was very low. He didn't even wag his tail,” Mr Master's said.

“At first we thought it was because the illness had caused him to lose feeling in his rear end.

“But when we got the wheelchair, he started getting excited about walks again and his tale started wagging after months of not doing so.”

Charlie suffers from chronic degenerative radiculo-myelopathy (CDRM), commonly found in German shepherds and rough collies.

The disease causes nerves in the spinal cord to slowly deteriorate leaving, the dog without the use of its limbs and other functions.

The vets that diagnosed Charlie's illness had suggested he be put to sleep when he developed a stomach bug as they could only see his life getting worse.

But when Mr and Mrs Master's consulted a different vet, they discovered that a human with the similar condition would continue to live their life in a wheelchair as the disease does not cause the victim any pain.

Since then, Mr and Mrs Masters have not looked back, with Charlie clocking up the miles in his new chair and gaining some admirers to boot.

“One dog owner was in tears when she saw him,” Mr Masters said.

“She wished she had known about it sooner because she would have got one for her dog instead of having it put down.

“Most people have said what wonderful contraption the chair is.”

The praise for wheelchair came after Charlie and Mr and Mrs Masters were invited as honoured guests to the West of England Collie show where they gave a demonstration of Charlie in action with Hazel Hunt, author of The Rough Collie: Companion and Showdog, showing her admiration by dedicating a copy of her book to Charlie.

Mrs Masters said she hoped it would give hope to other dog owners: “We would like people like us, who love their dogs and do not wish to give up on them, to know there is another option rather than euthanasia.”

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