Now that Naki'o the Bionic Dog has become a media darling, we though it might be tough to get in touch with him for us to donate awesome stuff to his amazing cause, Nakio's Underdog Rescue. But Nakio's mom Christie was kind enough to arrange a play date with us to see how Naki'o is adjusting to his new phase-II prosthetic "shoes." We met the whole Pace family at Canine Rehabilitation & Conditioning Group (CRCG) where Naki'o and his sister get rehabilitative therapies once a week.
The Pace family creates quite the stir when they arrive. Their family consists of three dogs, a diaper bag for Nakio's paralyzed sister and remarkably calm, cool and collected pet parents who are obviously used to any of the adventures that might come with taking care of special-needs pups.
Of course Naki'o is the famous sibling, but no one seems to treat him any differently, and that's how it should be. After spending the afternoon with them, the takeaway is that while they are all heroes that take life's challenges in stride, the dogs are simply like most dogs who love belly rubs and treats. Weston and Christie are doting pet parents who are proud of the therapy session wins. It's not glamorous to be the first family of disABLED pets. In fact, it's a lot of work! But the love that binds them together makes the progress especially satisfying.
Nakio's sister, Hokulea, is a partially paralyzed girl from Romania. Her name means "delightful star" in Hawaiian. Her therapy session was first where they used electric current to stimulate her unused leg muscles. The goal is to keep the muscles from atrophy with the hope that her treatments will enable her to walk again. Already she is beginning to support her weight at times.
Next, the dogs were outfitted with Ruffwear K-9 Life Jackets for a trip to the pool!
This was the first day that Naki'o got into the pool unassisted, so everyone was very excited!
Sister has a good swim too!
Naki'o then takes a long therapeutic swim in the warmer tub with a continuous current to build his muscles which will help support the prosthetic limbs.
And now it's time for Naki'o to show off his new shoes! Dad Weston helps while Mom Christie puts on the neoprene sheaths before the prosthetic legs can be applied. Doesn't Naki'o look excited?
Naki'o is rocking his patriotic prosthetic legs! Nothing stops him! But all his hard work pays off. He and his rescue get well-deserved treats from BaxterBoo.com!
If Nakio's story has inspired you like it has us, you can vote for him in the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards Contest!
Currently Naki'o is in third place in the Emerging Dog Hero category. You can vote daily for Naki'o for the chance to win $1,500 for a selected charity partner. In addition, one finalist will walk away with top honors as the winning American Hero Dog for 2013, securing an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.
Regardless of who wins the Hero Dog Awards contest, Naki'o is showing the world just what a disabled dog is capable of. He spreads awareness and proves that disabled doesn't mean disposable!