Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

Created 02 November 2021
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A Colombian man and his Vietnamese wife living in HCMC have made hundreds of wheelchairs for disabled animals all over the world and also adopted some such animals themselves.
Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

People living on Bung Ong Thoan Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc City are used to seeing Oscar Fernando Ruiz Bonilla, 44, and his wife Anh Thu. Every morning the couple take a dozen cats and dogs, more than a half of them disabled, out for a walk.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

After arriving in Vietnam six years ago Bonilla started a Columbian restaurant. In 2019, he met Thu, a doctor with a love for animals who operated Forever Wheelchair. The center made wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs for animals and raised funds to save abused, abandoned and disabled pets.

Holding a puppy named Ca Chim (Bird Fish), Bonilla says it was one of the first dogs the couple rescued and adopted after the puppy having amputated legs had been thrown out on the street two years ago. "[It] was thin and very aggressive. His body had a fishy smell, and so I named him Ca Chim”.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

The couple also adopted this poodle named Tina, and later made it a wheelchair. Tina, born with diabetes, is over a year old now and paralyzed.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

The couple also have four cats, including two afflicted by polio. They have so far rescued around 300 cats and dogs.

Bonilla says: "For me, seeing a paralyzed pet being able to walk normally with a wheelchair is the greatest happiness. I want to adopt many dogs and cats but my house is not large enough, and we also do not have a lot of caregivers. So, instead, I will try to find new homes for them”.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

Oscar and Thu take their pets to the public park every day.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

"Each pet has its own name and different interests," Thu said.

At first the couple spent their own money to make wheelchairs for injured and paralyzed pets. Later they sought funding. Since then they have been selling their products to pet lovers.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

People, especially children, often show their affection for Oscar and Thu’s pets.

Expat, Vietnamese wife make wheelchairs for disabled animals

Oscar makes the wheelchairs with other partners. There is no school to train people in how to make them, and so he learned animal anatomy, assembly techniques, 3D printing technology, and others on his own. Two years ago, when homemade wheelchairs had become popular, he took a break from the restaurant to focus on this work. His products are exported to the U.S., Canada, etc.

Owners of pets with disabilities just need to send a video showing the disability and size for Oscar to make a suitable product. It usually takes three days to a week to design and assemble one, and costs VND2.5-6 million ($109 - 261.61).

The couple hand over a part of their profits to animal rescue centers in Saigon. Every month they seek funding to make nearly 15 wheelchairs.


Source: VNE

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