Born without his front legs, Kandu, a Jack Russell Terrier, could barely move. His owner felt his quality of life was in jeopardy and took him to the Evergreen Animal Protective League to be euthanized. But that’s where this little powerhouse of a puppy’s life just began.
It wasn’t Kandu’s time, and after a story on Denver’s CBS4 — he was given a second chance. Ken and Melissa Rogers from Colorado were selected out of more than 100 applications and interviews to adopt the energetic dog. And with his new guardians came new opportunities.
Once Kandu was safely in the Rogers’ arms, the couple started working on devices to help Kandu move around. First came his everyday wheels: Ken Rogers molded plastic to fit Kandu’s 10.5 pound body. He then used rollerblade wheels to get the device rolling. With this, Kandu is able to run around and enjoy the outdoors completely on his own. And while inside, the Rogers use a sleeve from a sweatshirt to help protect his chest and assist him in sliding around the house.
Martin Kaufmann, from www.Orthopets.com , designed Kandu's wheels — and even added a cool mono ski weighing less than two pounds (photo above). The bottom of the ski is waxed up and Kandu can ‘fly’ down hills! The wheels weigh 6.5 lbs. which is a lot to carry for a 10 ½-lb. dog, but Kandu’s spirit is undaunted and it seems like nothing can stop him.
Kandu didn’t stop with his second chance at life and new form of transportation; the energetic dog is also giving back to the community. Through the Healing Friends program at Yampa Valley Medical Center, which takes animals to hospitals as part of the patients’ therapy sessions, Kandu and Ken Rogers team up to visit patients.
Ken says, “He's got an infectious personality; when he goes to a hospital he brings a smile to everyone's face. Kandu doesn't think of himself as being handicapped. Kandu's can-do spirit even helped a woman who had not spoken since she suffered a stroke. One cuddle from Kandu and she found her voice.”
Life for this little cutie pie, his human guardians, Ken and Melissa and the hospital patients who get to cuddle with Kandu (named for his attitude!) was changed forever. (Photo: Kandu relaxing with his pal Bob)
Ken’s wife, Melissa, says, “He's just joy. That's all he is, he's just pure joy.” Kandu’s life is full of discovery and fun. He is showered with love from his human caregivers, his fellow dogs and cats and the caring community around him. But there is also has a job to do. Kandu works with the Heeling Friends group www.HeelingFriends.org, which takes animals to hospitals as part of the patients’ therapy sessions. His patients love him. They smile, laugh, cuddle and everyone feels better.
“I feel an obligation to give him everything I can give him,” said Ken Rogers. “Kandu doesn't seem to know that he is different from other dogs.” Ken is now working on something for the water so Kandu can swim.
Kandu also has his own website, www.Kandu.us where you can see lots of pictures and read more about all the forces that came together to beat the odds.
Kandu is an inspiration to all who meet him. He shows the world that with support, determination and a smile on your face, anything is possible! (Photo above: Ken and Melissa Rogers with Kandu and Bob)
WATCH KANDU'S VIDEO:
Kandu, the dog who took home "Best in Show" at the annual Nuts For Mutts dog show, shows off the affection that won him top prize in the "Best Kisser" category with owner Ken Rogers.
Steamboat Springs — The annual Nuts for Mutts dog show in Woodland Hills, Calif., isn't quite on the same level as The Westminster Kennel Club. Luckily for Oak Creek pet Kandu, Nuts for Mutts isn't trying to be elite. On June 1, the two-legged Routt County mixed breed took home "Best in Show" at a contest that boasts categories such as "Mystery Mutt," "Most Vocal" and "Fastest Eater."
"It was great. We had seen a little piece last year on Animal Planet that sort of featured it, and it just looked like fun," said Ken Rogers, who adopted Kandu in fall 2006. "And it is, because it's just for mutts."
Kandu, who also won for "Best Kisser" and "Best Physically Challenged," was born without front legs. Rogers applied to adopt the dog - who was set to be euthanized before being saved by the Evergreen Animal Protective League - after seeing a story on Denver's CBS4 news.
"I got to thinking. At the time, we had a dog who was in the Heeling Friends program at the hospital, and we thought this would be kind of cool, that Kandu might make a good therapy dog," Rogers said.
"He actually has a little monoski for the winter time. Living in Steamboat, you've got to have something to ski," Rogers said. "It's like a whole different dog. He had such great spirit to begin with, but he just loves being able to roll and go fast and be with other dogs."
Through the Heeling Friends program at Yampa Valley Medical Center, Kandu and Rogers team up to visit with patients. Kandu gets animated when he sees the door of the hospital, but he calms right down when he's out of his wheels and snuggles up with a patient, Rogers said.
"He really seems to understand. Many dogs do, they seem to sense when somebody's sick. They just get mellow and snuggle up to the patient," he said. "It's really neat to watch."
Ken Rogers poses with his dog Kandu, a Jack Russell mix at the 8th Annual Nuts for Mutts Dog Show held at Pierce College's Shepard Stadium in Woodland Hills, Calif., May 17, 2009. Ken Rogers became Kandu's new owner in 2005 in Oak Creek, Colorado, where Kandu makes visits to hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers "to bring comfort and smile to all those visited."
O YES U KANDU:
For more information about Kandu, the award-winning therapy mutt, go to http://kandu.us . The Web site includes a background story and pictures, as well as a selection of special Kandu apparel — emblazed with the slogan, "O YES U KANDU" — that includes T-shirts, jackets, buttons and thongs. The funds from the items sold on Kandu’s website are donated to Heeling Friends and the Evergreen Animal Protective League www.EAPL.com/kandus_story.html .
(Contributed by Hilda who lives in Auburndale, Florida)