Free Wheely: K9 Carts for handicapped furkids
Published on Monday, 30 November 2015
While many pet-related businesses are inspired by the founders’ furkids, K9 Carts was born when veterinary orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Lincoln Parkes, was working at the Animal Medical Centre (New York City) and realised that a rehabilitative product was needed for handicapped dogs, as well as dogs that had mobility difficulties after surgery. Pooling together his veterinary knowledge and experience with disabled animals in the 1960s, he designed and built his first canine wheelchair.
WALKING TO RUNNING
At the time, K9 Carts was still in its infancy, with carts being made only for patients within the hospital. Over a decade later in 1975, Dr Parkes’ then-wife, Barbara Parkes, 75, took over the management of K9 Carts. Her blood, sweat, and tears paid off—today, K9 Carts’ wheelchairs and harnesses are being used by needy pooches all over the world. Barbara and Dr Parkes eventually went their separate ways, but she continued running K9 Carts. She currently heads the company, which she manages with the help of her son Glenn Parkes, 38, and his wife, Krystle Parkes, 30. Although not a veterinarian, Barbara has earned her stripes in the industry—she worked as a vet technician with an equine veterinarian for 15 years, in a small animal veterinary hospital for three, and ran a veterinary specialty practice for 12 years while concurrently running K9 Carts. “Assisting in and watching pets recover from surgery taught me the importance of customising our products to cater to pets with unique conditions,” shares Barbara. Although named ‘K9 Carts’, the prosthetic aids can be fitted for other four-legged animals—like cats, rabbits, and even lambs—as well.
SPECIAL ORDERS ONLY
Although K9 Carts also sells other pet products, such as doggy boots, harnesses and diapers, their star product is the wheelchair—they receive around 300 orders every month. The business is based in the U.S., but they have agents in other parts of the world, and get regular international orders from Japan, Canada, U.K., and beyond. There are currently two models—the Rear Support Wheelchair (from US$225/S$317) for pets with full strength in their front legs and paralysis only in their hind ones, and the Full Support Wheelchair (from US$375/S$528) for pets with weakness or paralysis in both their front and hind legs. The carts also offer a Catch-it-All (from US$35/S$49) attachment that can be added for convenient waste elimination. The Rear Support and Full Support Wheelchairs are stock models, but each can be further customised to suit the needs of individual customers.
For the full article of on K9 Carts, flip to Pet Biz (pg 58) of our Oct-Nov 2015 issue!