A year ago in Alaska, the guinea pig could not move under its own power, but today it may be the only rodent in Canada with a personalized ride.
A postpartum uterus infection left Alaska clinging to life, with one front leg needing amputation. Other complications limited the use of his two hind legs and veterinary bills exceeded $ 5,000. Their prospects still looked bleak.
"I was afraid she wouldn't have a good quality of life. I was afraid she wouldn't move and I thought I had failed her as a pet owner," Shirelle Goodman, a Toronto woman, told CTV News Toronto
Although many people gave up, Goodman doubled his decision to improve Alaska's mobility.
"I started researching 3D printing."
With Alaska under his arm, Goodman visited his local branch of the Toronto Public Library.
"She came in with a guinea pig without her front leg," recalled Domenic Giordano, the library's digital design technician. "She's an animal lover and I'm an animal lover, so I wanted to do what I could to help."
After some prototypes that did not fully accommodate the Alaskan condition, Giordano perfected what he calls "a carriage." Goodman calls it a wheelchair. Semantics aside, the 3D printer was able to do what drugs couldn't, giving Alaska the ability to move again.
The combined chair and harness allow it to move unimpeded on one front leg, while the adhesive straps prevent the rear legs from collapsing.
"I asked the vet about getting a wheelchair, but the closest the vet could find was to a 1.5kg dog. Alaska weighs 700 grams. Thanks to the library, she must have a healthy life. She is moving. She's a guinea pig for guinea pigs. "