A high schooler from Minnesota is on a mission of providing mobility to animals with mobility challenges.
During her free time, Shaine Kilyun is building wheelchairs for animals in need. With no one to teach her, the 16-year-old relies on YouTube tutorials to perfect her technique. Her process and finished products become more refined as she makes more of these devices.
Each wheelchair is customized based on the animals’ specific needs. So far, Shaine has created customized mobility devices for dogs, cats, and, soon, a duck.
As she is self-taught, Shaine works on a trial-and-error basis. She has made wheelchairs for animals of all shapes and sizes—from a tiny Chihuahua to a huge Great Dane. She has also come up with a unique locomotion aid for a hedgehog!
As young as she is, Shaine is already doing fantastic work for these animals. The impact of her mission can’t be underestimated, especially because mobility can save animals from being euthanized. This young woman is literally saving lives, and she’s just getting started.
“I just love animals, and I wanted to make a difference somehow,” she told Fox 9. “I’ve saved a few lives, and I really hope to save more.”
Shaine has also launched Wheelies Dog and Cat Wheelchairs on Instagram to let the public know about her handmade and low-cost wheelchairs. Her main goal is to make these devices accessible, not to make a profit.
The teen charges only for the total cost of her materials, so her products are way more affordable than any of the mainstream wheelchairs you’d find on the market. On average, her wheelchairs cost only $300, while bigger companies offer similar devices for as high as $1,000.
Shaine hopes that the affordability of her creations will help pet owners provide their animals with a better quality of life. The teen has also been reaching out to shelters to see how she can help the animals there.
Before starting the build, Shaine needs to understand what the animal needs. Depending on their requirements, she provides front-support, full-support, and back-support models.
One of the recent recipients of Shaine’s custom wheelchairs was Scooter, a paraplegic dog who came here from Saudi Arabia via the Home For Life Sanctuary. The pup can’t use his legs, so he just drags his body forward, causing him to develop sores and lesions where his legs scrape the ground. This also puts him at risk of infection. Luckily, Shaine made him a special wheelchair.
Shaine shared photos of Scooter using his customized wheelchair on Instagram, and the pup was clearly loving it!
“This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! I gave Scooter, who arrived from Saudi Arabia a special custom Wheelies wheelchair! It means the world to me,” she wrote.
Many people who have heard about Shaine’s mission for the animals are pitching in and helping raise funds for the teen so that she can continue her good work.
Lisa LaVerdiere, the founder and director of operations for Home for Life Sanctuary, said that the financial hardships caused by the pandemic have made it more difficult to raise money.
“It’s very hard to raise money in these times. So for her to make not one cart but two carts for us probably saved us close to $1,000,” LaVerdiere said.
She’s grateful to Shaine for the time and effort she has devoted into making these animals’ lives easier.
“A lot of people have reached out and donated, which is just incredible,” Shaine said.
If you want to help animals with special needs gain mobility, you can donate via Zelle to Wheeliesdogwheelchairs@gmail.com. Visit the Instagram page.
Thank you, Shaine, for this wonderful initiative! You can learn more about her project in the video below.
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