AMHERST, NH (May 26, 2016) – Michelle Delaney lives in Naples with Rina, a German shepherd who has been a working Search and Rescue dog deployed to help find missing children, runaways, and elderly patients with dementia. Now Rina needs help herself, because she suffers from degenerative myelopathy (DM), a canine disease that attacks the spinal cord and robs a dog of its mobility over time. Fortunately, with the help of a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, Rina is still able to enjoy life and continue to do protection work and other activities that she loves.

For the past several years, Rina was employed as an active resource in the community. Delaney helped her dog obtain certifications from the North American Police Work Dog Association and the National Association for Search and Rescue. Rina could search 60 and 120 acre plots of land and locate a subject within minutes! Besides Rina’s Search and Rescue work, she also made numerous trips to Pre K, kindergarten classes, and elementary schools amazing the children by finding their “missing” teachers and principals.

Last year, Delaney noticed that Rina’s feet were starting to drag. She was diagnosed with DM and within a short period of time, Rina could no longer walk on her own. The family home became a runway of rugs so that Rina could drag herself around to still be part of the activity going on in the house. But when Delaney introduced Rina to a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, the German shepherd was able to regain much of her mobility back. Rina is now able to dabble in the things she loved most in life, including continuing to track and do protection work.

Delaney is thrilled with Rina’s new lease on life and wants to help other German shepherds as well. She is the president of the Big Cypress German Shepherd Rescue, which is holding a fundraising event on June 18 at the Italian American Foundation in Naples; call (239) 206-3647 for more information. Funds will be used for medical, physical and emotional care of the German shepherds, facility upgrades, and maintenance of the Big Cypress German Shepherd Rescue.

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