Pah Leurat, August 2003


Ahn, one of our three dogs here in Pah Leurat, is a two-year-old Thai Ridgeback. During the Thai New Year celebrations last April a hit-and-run drunk driver broke Ahn's back, paralyzing both hind legs. When we arrived here from California in June we found Ahn confined to dragging himself around the yard, but otherwise happy and healthy, and eager to get back to running in the fields.

With help from our vet in Santa Barbara, we discovered two excellent companies in America which make custom-fitted mobility carts for just such cases: K-9 Carts and Doggon' Wheels. Their $300 price tags, however, seemed out of place in a community where most human families are struggling to exist on $3 a day.

We then found a veterinarian in Bangkok, the Ekamai Animal Hospital, which builds similar carts for around $60, but they insisted we bring Ahn to Bangkok and the 600-mile round trip with an incontinent dog did not seem a reasonable option.

Finally, a friend in Chiangmai told us about a dog at her bank with a similar condition. One clever bank employee had designed a prototype cart and commissioned the auto upholstery shop next door to build it. Other bank employees contributed to the cost ($20 for materials and labor), and the result was a heartwarming success.

So we took Ahn's measurements to Chiangmai and had a cart built for him there. Although it's not as refined as the pricey American models, and does not provide the important option to exercise his hind legs, at least it gets him out of the yard and back to the fields with his sisters. As the photos below clearly show, this cart has dramatically improved Ahn's life. He is also practicing walking on all four feet, with Yie holding his tail for balance, and our vet here feels there is a good chance for Ahn to eventually recover the ability to walk on his own.

In any case, Ahn's accident and our response to it has made him something of a poster child in our ongoing campaign for speed bumps in Pah Leurat.


Follow-up, January 2004

The cart we had built for Ahn last August provided every benefit we had hoped for and more. In fact, those two orange wheels helped him recover so much coordination and stamina that he is now walking on his own!

Ahn still stumbles occasionally, and he still can't run or jump as well as he'd like, but at least he now no longer drags himself about. Instead he walks, maintaining a steady enough gait for long enough to work up a good pant.

Ahn's spirits, front-end muscle tone and overall weight are all near normal. He is very glad to be alive, and eagerly expresses his heartfelt thanks to all those whose love and support helped make his story the happy success that it is.




Running to the fields across the Nan River from Pah Leurat




Ahn and Men watching buffalo




Ahn and his two sisters with Nam Whan, Men, Em and Benyapa




Coming home to our house in Pah Leurat



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