This Adorable Husky Couldn’t Walk, A Printer Changed All Of That

Written by: Melina Giakas

December 18, 2014

Derby is an adorable Husky mix that was born a little bit differently than other pups. Derby was born with smaller forearms and no front paws. The pup’s deformity made it difficult for him to get around on hard surfaces and for his original owners to take care of him. They had planned on bringing Derby to a shelter where he would be euthanized until one organization – Peace and Paws – stepped in.

derby 5Image via BuzzFeed

Peace and Paws is a dog rescue group located in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. The organization took in Derby after owner Melissa Aonson Hannon heard about him from a friend. Shortly after, Tara Anderson also caught wind of Derby’s story. She had recently adopted a dog from the organization but could not get Derby off her mind. She decided to reach out to Peace and Paws and ultimately agreed to foster the dog until he could find a home.

derby 4Image via BuzzFeed

In the beginning, Tara bought Derby a wheelchair to help him get around. She soon realized that while the chair did help improve his mobility, it still had its limitations. The wheelchair prevented Derby from playing with other dogs and experiencing the full effects of running and playing. With Derby being the active dog that he is, Tara thought there had to be another solution.

derby 6Image via BuzzFeed

Tara who works as the Director of CJP Product Management at 3D Systems thought up a creative solution for Derby. She worked with her colleagues to develop custom prosthetics for the dog by using 3D printing technology.

Since 3D printing is computer based, models are easily created and reprinted. This allowed Tara and her team to quickly create and adjust models according to Derby’s needs. The earlier version of prosthetics for example would hurt Derby’s forearms after he wore them for a while. The great thing about this was that instead of waiting for new parts to be manufactured, new prosthetics could be easily printed! In the end “elbow cups” were created for Derby. A method called MultiJet Printing allowed for a mix of rigid and flexible materials to be used. This allowed the team to create a cup that was both comfortable for Derby to wear and durable enough for him to hit the ground running!

derby 2Image via Biz Journals

With new elbow cups in paw Derby was a new pup ready for a new life! He was adopted in August by the Portanova family and has since been making the most of his days in his new home. The energetic dog enjoys 2-3 mile runs with pawrents Sherri and Dom every day. “He runs faster than both of us. He never really tires out, he’s just so happy to do that”, says Dom.

Derby’s unlikely circumstances remind us that just because something is different doesn’t mean it should be throw away. With a little extra time and love Derby now has the ability to play and enjoy the normalcy of being a four pawed pup! 😉

To watch more about this special dog’s incredible story check out the video below!

h/t to buzzfeed & Mashable

>Feature Image via Mashable

Written by: Melina Giakas

December 18, 2014

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