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A Local Champion in Race and Life

Champion for six out of seven years, Junior is Top Dog in the Wiener's Circle

A favorite event of Sidney's annual Oktoberfest is the "Running of the Wieners", but perhaps no one looks forward to it more than Junior.

Junior is a eight-year-old Dachshund who has traveled to Sidney from Crook, Colorado to defy the odds and participate in the annual event for the past seven years, albeit using a customized apparatus on wheels instead of his hind legs.

His journey began when he was diagnosed with IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), a condition that affects the spinal discs and can lead to pain, mobility issues, and eventually paralysis.

"He went outside one day and when he came back in, he was completely paralyzed from the bottom of his shoulders down. He slipped a disc," said owner Jessica Martin, "Although he was a candidate for surgery, it was very expensive and we simply couldn't afford it. We opted to keep it really quiet and let him heal on his own and help him heal through chiropractic and laser therapy. He now has 75% of his mobility back in his legs and he lives a completely normal life - he just can't run correctly and that's why he has wheels." Junior's wheels were made by Walking Wheels, a company founded in 2001 by Mark C. Robinson that manufactures light-weight, and all-terrain pet wheelchairs that allows aging or disabled dogs and cats to walk, run, play, like they used to do it before. "His wheels were completely customized for his individual length and height. He'll wear it sometimes around the house but he doesn't always need to as he does have some use of his back legs," concluded Martin.

Cervical IVDD occurs in the discs of the dog's neck.When the intervertebral disc herniates, it can result in concussion or compression of the spinal cord, causing lasting and debilitating damage.There are two types of IVDD, known as Hansen Type I and Hansen Type II.

Hansen Type I is more commonly seen in dachshunds, corgis and beagles. It involves an acute rupture of the disc. While wear and tear calcifies and damages the disk over time, the rupture generally occurs suddenly as the result of a forceful impact (jumping, landing, etc.).

Hansen Type II is more commonly seen in large breed dogs. Examples of dog breeds more vulnerable to Hansen Type II IVDD disorder are Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, or Dobermans. With Type II, the discs become hardened over a longer period of time, eventually bulging or rupturing to cause spinal cord compression. (Source: Broad Street Veterinary Hospital)

IVDD, hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, arthritis, amputation, or post-surgical recovery may be some of the conditions that require the use of one of these wheelchairs.

Although this was the first year Junior didn't win a ribbon since he began competing six years ago, his remarkable journey has touched the hearts of many and has become an inspiration within the canine community. His story serves as a reminder that in the face of adversity, even our four-legged friends can overcome challenges.


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