He's only 12 pounds, but Rebecca Pierce's rat terrier, Wally, is her world. When her veterinarian told her he was paralyzed, she also felt crippled.
Pierce had dropped Wally off at her vet's kennel service late last month, as she left for a quick trip out of town. But when she returned to pick him up, she was whisked into an examination room.
"They brought him in and I saw he couldn't use his back two legs," Pierce said.
Pierce says the kennel's staff has no idea what happened. They suspect he may have a herniated disc in his spine. As they work to piece together what caused Wally's partial paralysis, he was left helpless.
"He looked like a seal. He was using his front paws to get around. He'd either be sitting side-saddle or dragging his legs behind him," she said.
Despite the obstacle, Wally's sweet spirit stayed the same. Pierce knew she had to find some kind of temporary solution to help him get around. She started researching online.
"I saw people on YouTube making dog wheelchairs. I thought, he's still in good spirits. He's still happy. He's eating, he's drinking. I bet I could make one of those!" she laughed.
Pierce went to the New Tampa Home Depot with Wally in her arms. She went in the Bruce B. Downs store with big plans, and even higher hopes.
She was met by Wally's very own guardian angels, clad in bright orange aprons: Debbie Klaczynski and Greg Worrell. The Home Depot employees spent two hours helping build Wally the perfect wheelchair.
"Rebecca was just really down. It was just, her day was done. This is her dog, all she had. It's her love. And anything we could do to make it better, made our experience that much more," Worrell said.
When Pierce went to pay, management insisted on covering the costs.
"She's going to have an incredible amount of bills with this guy. This was an easy fix for us," Klaczynski smiled.
Two weeks later, Wally is slowly but surely getting better. He's seeing a puppy chiropractor for treatments, and he's regaining strength in his hind legs. But in the interim, he's still wheeling around in his new ride.
As Pierce prays for her best friend's recovery, she says she'll never forget the kindness and compassion of two complete strangers.
"We live in a time when people are pretty self-centered and greedy and it's all about profits. This was just outstanding. I haven't experienced anything like this before," Pierce said.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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