Mr. Pond, my dog, is a rescue, part Chihuahua, part something else; in a rare moment of stillness, he’s actually sitting on my lap right now as I write this article, but he’s usually running around, chasing the cats, begging my fiancé or me to play fetch, doing everything in his tiny power to drag us on his leash when he goes out for walks. I call him Robot Dog because he has such a funny little straight-legged run when he skitters through our home or dashes around the dog park.
Though my nickname for my dog is tongue-in-cheek, there are several more “robotic” dogs out there — we’ve seen TurboRoo the Chihuahua with his 3D printed cart that he relies on due to his lack of front legs, and more recently Derby the dog who received 3D printed prosthetic blades to make up for his deformed front legs. Derby had previously faced the possibility of being euthanized due to his deformity, and that’s a sad reality for many dogs that just seem too difficult to care for — but after 3D Systems came into the picture, Derby proved to be not just a loving companion, but a playful, spirited one that loves to run.
Nimble is a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix, now 16 weeks old, in California that also faced the possibility of being put down shortly after her birth. The puppy was born via emergency C-section and came out with partial legs, which shortly after became necrotic. Then left with no full or functional legs, the puppy’s mother rejected her, and her original owners were at a loss. But veterinary technician Christine Broyles came into the picture, and that little dog’s life took on a new course.
“As Nimble got older they realised she was going to be hard to care for, and thought it would be too difficult to even find a home for her, so were feeling like they should put her down,” Broyles told the Daily Star Online. “When I caught the story from a client of mine who adopted one of the siblings, born healthily, I said ‘I don’t even need to see her, I’ll take her.’ And that is how Nimble became my little baby girl. I didn’t need to see her before I knew I loved her with all my heart.”
Thanks to this caring owner, Nimble is leading a new life as a much-loved dog. That love, though, doesn’t negate her disabilities. According to Broyles, Nimble currently has “only 1/3 – 1/2 of all four of [her] legs.” In trying to make a better life for the dog, Broyles was encouraged by stories of other dogs that have been helped through 3D printing.
Broyles has started a fundraising campaign over at GoFundMe to help offset the costs of prosthetics. The campaign, which launched on March 4th, has already raised over $1,300, as of the time of writing, to help Nimble out.
“My goal is to get her a cart for the front legs and prosthetics for the back legs, but taking her to a specialist and getting her the necessary doctor appointments is going to start building up and I can’t do it alone,” Broyles says on the GoFundMe page. She adds, “I just want the best quality of life for her, and getting her these special ‘legs’ would allow her to be more mobile and able to get around better. I see her [favor] her little nubs and having the proper equipment would truly help!”
Nimble has already had X-rays taken, but before they can progress with more precise plans, Broyles does need to wait a little while for Nimble to get a little older. Once the dog is at her adult size, 3D scans or an MRI can more exactly show the status of each leg, which will inform the best way to proceed with a custom-made cart and/or prosthetic legs, and will cut down on total costs through not requiring replacement due to growth.
In the latest update to GoFundMe, Broyles notes that 3D Systems had reached out about Nimble’s case:
“We have been contacted by the people who did Derby the dog’s 3D printed ‘legs’ … it’s very exciting but very scary bc I’m waiting for the numbers for cost.”
Broyles is working to get the word out about her sweet dog, turning to social media to do so. Nimble has her own Facebook page to provide photos, videos, and updates on her health, her love of life, and her favorite chew toy. Nimble even has her own Vine feed — check her out below playing with a paper tray — as well as an Instagram account and hashtag #LegsforNimble.
Will you donate to Nimble’s GoFundMe campaign? Do you know of other dogs or other pets that have been helped by 3D printing? Discuss in the 3D Printed Legs May Help Nimble the Dog forum thread over at 3DPB.com.