London party

Wally the rescue dog celebrates his first birthday with new prosthetic legs

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There’s another up-and-coming social media star at a Chatham-Kent animal sanctuary, and he’s been standing tall these days.

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Wally, a one-year-old husky-lab mix born with deformed front legs, celebrated his first birthday on Saturday with a Super Mario-themed party at Charlotte’s Freedom Farm near Dresden.

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Although he received plenty of toys and treats, including a birthday cake, Wally’s big present came sooner when he received new custom-made prostheses.

Lauren Edwards, who owns and operates the sanctuary, said Wally, a survivor from northern Canada, came to her farm because of her previous experience with Winnie, a similarly challenged puppy.

The Quebec animal shelter that rescued Wally saw Winnie, a rising social media star with over 70,000 followers, on her Instagram profile at @winnie_the_roo.

Since joining Freedom Farm, Wally has also become a social media star, amassing 21,000 Instagram followers on his wallywallabysworld profile.

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Edwards said Winnie and Wally quickly became best friends.

“They’re pretty inseparable,” Edwards said, adding that Winnie had stolen a few of Wally’s birthday toys before.

Levi Pennie, 6, left, and Paris Dudgeon, 4, spend some quality time with Wally at his first birthday party held at Charlotte’s Freedom Farm on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. The hidden pooch is resting on his new reads while taking a break from wearing her new prosthetic legs. (Ellwood Shreve/Postmedia Network) jpg, CD

While Winnie uses a wheelchair to get around, Edwards said Wally is “unique because he’s a candidate for prosthetic legs.”

However, it took time to fit Wally into his permanent prostheses which feature a dinosaur print design and the necessary components to last for years.

As Wally grew, he transitioned from some temporary prostheses, including an early pair that was only inches off the ground and another pair that was only slightly higher.

“It’s full-length, so he’s still getting used to it,” Edwards said.

As part of this acclimatization, Wally wears them about three or four times a day for a short time.

Fundraising was key to helping both puppies, as their prostheses and wheelchairs are all custom-made, Edwards said.

The devices came from PawsAbility, an animal prosthetics company near Wasaga Beach north of Toronto, she said.

Charlotte’s Freedom Farm will have a float in the Chatham Santa Claus Parade on Friday night which will include Winnie in his remote-controlled car, Edwards said.

More information about the animal sanctuary can be found online at www.charlottesfreedomfarm.ca