This story about a duck with physical disabilities will warm your heart. Born with deformed legs, this duck has just found his feet (pun intended), thanks to an unusual wheelchair contraption.
Merlin, a White Peking duck, has recently been adopted by an animal rescue center in New Jersey after being found unable to move very far. Rescuers took him to the sanctuary where his rehabilitation began.
The animal sanctuary, Goats of Anarchy, normally looks after goats (the clue is in the name), but they made an exception for Merlin when he was found in November 2018 with deformed legs and almost motionless. He could only hobble a little. The sanctuary tried their best to get him to waddle around on his own but none of their efforts worked, so they put out a request for some expert help to get him moving and give him some independence.
The sanctuary owners reached out to a company that makes wheelchairs and other mobility aids for disabled animals, Handicapped Pets. This business had never designed a wheelchair for a feathered client before, but they rose to the challenge of replacing and upgrading a former model of a wheelchair which had helped Merlin gain some movement.
The designers adapted one of their standard miniature wheelchairs normally made for dogs and cats for Merlin. Ducks are longer and wider in their build than the former animals so there were modifications needed in order for it to fit him properly.
The chair has resulted in a kind of renaissance for Merlin - he can now move around wherever he wants to and play with his best friend, a hen named Opal.
“It was so cool, watching Merlin take his first steps,“ said Mikayla Feehan, who works for the design company that provided the duck’s new mobility aid. “It is not a sight you see every day.”
Merlin is not the only recipient at the sanctuary of a new set of wheels: several of the goats there have also been given specially-adapted wheelchairs, and other walking aids, as a result of injuries which have restricted their mobility. Outside the sanctuary, there have also been other recent cases in the news of other types of animals (e.g dogs, a tortoise, and a goldfish) who have received the same type of help.
It is amazing to think how modern technology can be used to help not just humans with disabilities, but also all different types of creatures, with fur, feathers, and fins, to regain their independence and quality of life.
Image credit: www.facebook.com/HandicappedPets