Dana Holden’s Dachshund mix named Leonard is a celebrity among her fifth-grade students. She has a picture of the senior rescue dog as her screensaver, and the kids get excited every time they see him. So, Holden scheduled a time for the 9-year-old dog to meet her 11-year-old students.
Of course, every kid fell in love with the little dog, but Leonard held a special place in one child’s heart. Emmett Rychner saw Leonard and immediately started thinking of ways he could help the pup. He decided that he would build a custom wheelchair for his teacher’s special needs dog.
Leonard’s Mobility Issues
Holden adopted Leonard from a shelter. The senior pup had several medical issues that caused him to struggle with mobility. He can move his back legs, but he doesn’t have enough strength in them to support his body.
“They believe some sort of tumor is growing, pushing on his spine,” Holden said. “His leg is just not getting the signals.”
However, Leonard is lovable and snuggly despite his health concerns. He lives life to the fullest, and Holden helps him in any way she can. When Leonard can’t stand up using his back legs, he drags them on the ground behind him. Holden encourages him with treats and affection.
Emmett is an 11-year-old boy who loves inventing new things. He designed a drinking fountain for dogs and an air-conditioned backpack to keep his lunch fresh. So, when he met Leonard, the gears started turning in his brain. He knew he could come up with a way to help Leonard walk better.
Kid Changes Rescue Dog’s Life!
When Emmett shared his idea with the class, they all encouraged him. He got to work, but the project ended up being more difficult than he anticipated. His first wheelchair ended up being too short for Leonard’s legs. But instead of giving up, Emmett grew more determined to get it right.
“A lot of kids will say that they can do something, but to actually have that follow-through and persistence,” Holden said. “I think he has just an empathy, he’s got that in him already.”
After lots of hard work, Emmett created the perfect wheelchair for Leonard. Holden strapped the pup into his new set of wheels, and when Emmett asked him to come, the dog ran toward him effortlessly. It was as if Leonard knew the wheels were made for him.
There are plenty of companies that make custom wheelchairs for dogs, including one that Holden’s vet recommended to her. But she believed that Emmett would be able to follow through with his promise, and she was right! Now, Leonard can roam around at ease thanks to one boy’s kindness and innovation.
Watch Emmett and Leonard’s Story Here:
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