By Katie Arvia
LANSING, Ill. (August 7, 2021) – In most cases, prosthetic limbs are associated with human use. However, the use of prosthetics for dogs and other four-legged friends is on the rise. This new technology is helping animals all over the world, including local dogs like Woodie (AKA Woodie the Wonder Pup).
Woodrow (Woodie’s full name) is a blue nose pit bull. When he was just a few weeks old, Woodie was found alone in a forest preserve in Joliet with both of his back paws chewed off. When Woodie was examined by a veterinarian, it became clear that his injuries were caused by another animal. Luckily, the wounds were not infected, and Woodie was placed in a foster home in Plainfield. Jenn Crowe, Woodie’s new foster mom, changed Woodie’s bandages twice per day and took him to laser therapy at a local clinic.
Though Woodie’s two missing paws raised concerns about his quality of life, Crowe was determined to help him. Through a vet tech’s recommendation, Crowe found a prosthetics and vet program at Joliet Junior College where she contacted a professor and was invited to bring Woodie in for a meet-and-greet with the students.
Enter Christina Bunde, a student in the prosthetics and vet program at the college. The Lansing resident said she got involved with creating dog prosthetics after being inspired by other students.
“I got involved with making prosthetics for dogs when I saw a project a previous student was doing,” Bunde said. “After seeing what he was working on, I knew I wanted to do more projects like this.”
Bunde’s first project was to help a dog injured in Hurricane Harvey. The pup, who was relocated from a shelter in Texas, was in need of a prosthetic for her front leg. Bunde and classmate Alisha Brennon took on the project and successfully created a new prosthetic limb for the dog.
“We do all the projects together and encourage students to get involved, whether it’s observing, giving ideas, or even helping with projects. To date, we have done [work for] three dogs: one cart and two prosthetic legs,” Bunde said. Two dogs are currently on the books for future projects.
Woodie walks again
Creating the prosthetic limbs for Woodie was a class effort. In the summer of 2019, Woodie was given his first set of prosthetic limbs by Bunde and the students at Joliet Junior College. More recently, he had another fitting in May for an updated pair. Woodie can jump and use his hind legs for support, and his gait is smooth while he walks. Woodie loves to walk through his town of Plainfield for ice cream and socialization, according to Crowe.
The video below is from Woodie the Wonder Pup’s Facebook page:
Bunde, a dog mom of two herself, is a full-time clinical prosthetic assistant. She sees human patients during the day and animal patients on the side after work and on the weekends. Bunde said she and her classmates are currently working to create social media accounts to show their work. Donations of time and money to help support the Joliet Junior College Orthotics & Prosthetics Technology program are always appreciated, she said.
“All of our projects have been word of mouth. We can do braces or prosthetics,” Bunde said. Bunde invites local residents who are interested in making a donation or sharing information about an animal in need to email her at [email protected].
Woodie the Wonder Pup has a Facebook page where followers can stay updated on his journey: facebook.com/WoodietheWonder.