The future smells sweeter for Teddy the skunk, now that he is walking again.
Teddy is a pet skunk that has faced serious obstacles in his four years of life.
As a baby, he was found with severe respiratory issues. Luckily, young Teddy was taken in by Sharon Donovan, who cared for the little skunk around the clock. After two months of Donovan's healing compassion, Teddy started to feel better and found himself with a permanent spot in a loving home.
"Teddy has no clue he's a skunk, he thinks he's my baby," Donovan said of her bond with the critter in a release from Walkin' Pets.
Four years after recovering from his childhood illness, Teddy still has some health issues that crop up every winter.
"Winters are always a challenge and last winter  I wasn't sure he would make it. We spent October through January at the vets and on antibiotic," Donovan shared.
Those health struggles worsened by March. Unfortunately, Teddy couldn't get in to see a veterinarian because of restrictions put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the weeks passed, Teddy kept getting weaker until he wasn't even able to walk on his own.
"I searched for a vet to get him help, but no one would listen to me. Teddy began to gain weight. I started with water therapy and diet," Teddy's owner added about what she tried to do for the skunk while they waited for a vet appointment. "In November, I begged the vets to take an x-ray and they finally did it. The vet called me and said he had fractured his leg. At this point, it healed but left him arthritis in his hip and ankle."
Heartbroken that Teddy was hurting for so long, Donovan dedicated herself to finding a way to get her pet moving and healthy again. Her research for solutions led her to Jason Parker and the Gunnar's Wheels Foundation, a charity that provides wheelchairs for life to animals in need.
Parker was able to connect Donovan with Walkin' Pets, a New Hampshire-based pet mobility company that makes wheelchairs for dogs and other animals including chickens, turkeys, donkeys, and more. Working together, Parker and Walkin' Pets created a custom wheelchair for Teddy — the first skunk wheelchair made by both parties.
Skunks sit low to the ground, so Teddy's wheelchair is wider than most Walkin' Pets dog wheelchairs and has shorter struts and a wider connector to better fit his body. The adjustments worked! Teddy quickly took to his new wheelchair and is now walking on his own again.
This wheelchair, along with the skunk's water therapy session, will help Teddy build the strength he needs to eventually walk unassisted. After seeing the progress her pet has made so far, Donovan feels confident that Teddy will be walking without his wheelchair by his 5th birthday in the spring.
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