In 2014, one Wisconsin man’s four-legged best friend was tragically hit by a truck one morning. Gunnar the dog survived, but he was left with two broken vertebrae and a 50/50 chance of recovering.
“The problem with traumatic injury, especially for an animal, is you’re never prepared for it — mentally or financially. It pretty much drained us,” said Jason Parker. He and his wife Stephanie spent about $7,000 on surgeries and months of physical therapy, but nothing improved. By the time Parker started looking into canine wheelchairs, which cost about $600, he could no longer afford one.
However, a good friend stepped up and bought the wheelchair for Gunnar and finally gave him his mobility back. “I said to my wife, one of these days we’re going to pay it forward,” Parker said. And last summer, Parker found out about a shelter dog named Hope who had been hit by a car, so he bought a wheelchair online and sent it to Hope. “Jason was the primary reason Hope healed/recovered. Without his encouragement and donation, she wouldn’t have the chance to fight as hard,” said Paige Storz, founder of Foxtail Pet Rescue and the veterinary technician who helped Hope make a full recovery.
“Jason was the primary reason Hope healed/recovered. Without his encouragement and donation, she wouldn’t have the chance to fight as hard,” said Paige Storz, founder of Foxtail Pet Rescue and the veterinary technician who helped Hope make a full recovery.
Since then, Parker has started Gunnar’s Wheels Foundation, which sends pet wheelchairs to pets across the country to keep until they pass away or no longer need a wheelchair. The wheelchairs are then returned and sent out to a new animal in need. So far, Parker has helped 129 animals get wheelchairs, which he’s been able to afford thanks to donations to his GoFundMe campaign to support the foundation.
“The relief I hear in someone’s voice when I tell them I can help — it’s a good feeling,” Parker said. “My goal is to never say we can’t help,” Parker said. “I know how much Gunnar’s company means to me… You just can’t give up on them. The animal isn’t going to give up on you. I think it’s up to us to not give up on the animals.”
Can you believe the amazing way this man is giving back after he received so much help to get his own dog a wheelchair?
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[Featured image: Today]