VICTORVILLE (CBSLA.com) — When a Victorville woman’s beloved dog Benny suddenly stopped walking, she got very worried but couldn’t afford the cost of the tests or surgery.
“My girlfriend told me, ‘Hey, Benny’s acting weird.’ And then I said, ‘Think I should take him to the vet?’ And sure thing, the morning right after that he just couldn’t walk,” said James Paniagua.
The 3-year-old Pomeranian mix belongs to Paniagua’s girlfriend who cannot afford Benny’s MRI or the possibility of surgery.
“When they started talking about actual surgery cost, that it was going to be upwards of $8,000, it’s not something that they were able to do,” he said.
For that same reason, a custom wheelchair was out, and a Google search in.
“I started off by Google searching ‘dog do-it-yourself wheelchair.’ I said, ‘you know, that looks simple enough and you only need a couple pieces to it so why not? Let’s try it out,’ ” he said.
The 22-year-old Paniagua brainstormed an idea and with just $40 created a wheelchair for Benny. He said it took him about four hours to put the wheelchair together.
The wheelchair works great when Benny moves forward but if he gets himself into a jam, he needs a little help.
“He looks a little more mobile and has a different attitude when in there as opposed to when he’s just dragging along,” said Paniagua, who plans on making a few changes to the wheelchair.
“These dogs, they’re animals, but at the same time, they’re a part of the family,” he said.