PEGRAM, Tenn. – A paralyzed one-year-old Border Collie named Scooter is training to become a certified therapy dog for disabled children and others.
“Many say, ‘I have never seen this' or ‘I have only seen this on TV,” owner Thomas Jordi told Nashville's News 2. “He is a unique situation where he could help kids in the same situation.
Jordi is also the Interim Director of Cheatham County's Animal Control.
A passerby saw Scooter when he was a puppy scooting down the road near downtown Ashland City, 30 minutes northwest of Nashville. She brought the dog to animal control thinking he had been hit by a car.
When animal control workers examined Scooter they discovered someone shot the dog three times, including in the spine. He was going to be put down, but instead, Jordi decided to adopt the dog.
“I called home to see if we could take on another critter because [Scooter] had a good disposition and character,” Jordi said. “So it was one of those lives worth saving.”
Scooter uses a specially designed wheelchair.
The chair is fitted with a harness to support Scooter, slings to lift his back legs and two wheels on the back. It allows the dog to pull himself with his front legs.
Scooter's latest wheelchair was donated by a Franklin businesswoman.
“When we are home and we grab the chair to put him out in the morning, he knows [the wheelchair] is his legs,” Jordi said.
In fact, in the mornings and afternoons, Scooter meets the school bus at the bus stop.
His love of children is one of the reasons why Jordi wants Scooter to become a certified therapy dog.
In order to be certified, Scooter will have to learn and respond to several commands.
He will then have to pass a certification test.
The dog already interacts with children and the elderly at social events around Middle Tennessee.
“He gravitates toward children which is kind of impressive on its own,” Jordi said, “but he will actually go toward children who have their own wheels like strollers or wheelchairs.”
If Scooter had not ended up at the Cheatham County Animal Control it's highly likely he would have lost his life.
“I have had people ask me ‘why don't you put that dog down?'” Jordi said. “I say he is not the one who has the handicap. He is getting around.”
Eventually, one of Scooter's hind legs will have to be amputated because of his injuries but for now he is focusing on his training.