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Animal lover in Taiwan is using plastic water pipes to build wheelchairs for disabled dogs

Animal lover in Taiwan is using plastic water pipes to build wheelchairs for disabled dogs
Source: BusinessInsider

Disabled dogs at an animal shelter in the southern city of Tainan can now walk and run again thanks to wheelchairs designed for them by a compassionate animal enthusiast.

Pan Chieh works for free in cases where animal patients have no one to sponsor them

Together with his girlfriend, 40-year-old machine operator Pan Chieh visits animal shelters and the homes of pet owners throughout Taiwan on weekends, building wheelchairs for animals in need. The couple charge a minimum of 5,000 TWD ($150) to cover travel and material costs, but often offer to work for free in cases where animal patients have no one to sponsor them.

The wheelchairs are customized according to the needs of each dog. A pet enthusiast is visiting different shelters and homes around Taiwan to build wheelchairs for animals in need. Pan Chieh uses plastic water pipes to create these wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are customized according to the needs of each dog. Source: Youtube/HindustanTimes

“The first dog recovered completely after using the wheelchair, which gave me a lot of confidence,”

‘Disabled dogs at an animal shelter in Taiwan’s southern city of Tainan, can now walk and run again, thanks to wheelchairs designed for them by a pet enthusiast.’ — writes Joe Daunt, for Business Insider.

Pan Chieh’s motivation for making pet wheelchairs came from a personal experience that set him on track to devoting most of his spare time to this cause over the years.

After a friend rescued an injured stray dog, she was charged by the animal hospital for the wheelchair costs after it became clear that the dog would not be able to walk on its own. Instead of paying for the expensive commercial dog wheelchair, Pan decided to make one himself.

“The first dog recovered completely after using the wheelchair, which gave me a lot of confidence,” Pan said, adding that he has been making wheelchairs for dogs and cats ever since, starting with heavy wooden models and finally arriving at the current cost-effective water pipe design.

Source: BusinessInsider

Chieh initially used heavy wood for his first few wheelchair designs but after constant process improvement, he discovered that plastic water pipes were more cost-effective than other materials.
Plastic water pipes: lightweight and cheap Chieh initially used heavy wood for his first few wheelchair designs but after constant process improvement, he discovered that plastic water pipes were more cost-effective than other materials. Source: Reuters

The material costs are less than one-third of the price of commercially available models

The current model uses readily available plastic water pipes that are cut to size and connected by joints, enabling him to customise wheelchairs to the specific needs of each animal. The material costs for one wheelchair come in at around 1,000 TWD ($30), less than one-third of the price of commercially available models, according to Pan.

Pan, a 40-year-old machine operator, visits different shelters and homes of pet owners throughout Taiwan on weekends together with his girlfriend, building wheelchairs for animals in need. The couple charge a minimum of 5,000 TWD ($150) to cover travel and material costs, but often offer to work for free in cases where animal patients have no one to sponsor them.

Liu I-li, an assistant professor of veterinary clinical science at National Taiwan University, was impressed with the well thought-out and cost-effective design. Liu said improvements could still be made, for example by adding a neck harness so that the dogs do not have to pull the chair construction with their bellies that are rubbing against the pipes. Skin problems potentially resulting from friction could be avoided by using softer materials at all friction points.

Taiwan’s many stray dogs and cats face the danger of being hit by cars or walking into paw traps, especially in the island’s remote mountain areas where farmers put up traps to prevent animals from devouring their crops.

Source: BusinessInsider

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