Disabled Doggy Runs Around for the First Time on 3-D Printed Prosthetic Legs

Dec 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm |

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This one should bring a holiday smile to your heart:

Let us introduce you to Derby, a smiley pup who was born with a congenital deformity that affected his ability to walk on his front legs.

At a loss for how to care for the pup, Derby’s original owners had planned on sending him to a shelter to be euthanized. However, thanks to Tara Anderson, director and product manager at 3D Systems, Derby now has a new leash on life atop his new prosthetic legs.

“I had to try and help this dog,” Anderson says about her decision to bring the foster doggy under her care.

Derby’s deformity basically left him with small forearms and no front paws. Initially, he was given a cart to help aid his mobility, but unfortunately this limited his movements and ability to interact with friends – so Anderson and her company began to toss around different ideas for how they could improve the pup’s movement.

“His circular replacement legs were created by 3D Systems—a 3-D printing firm—using the Project 5500X 3-D printer.”

Dom and Sherry Portanova, Derby’s new parents, are extremely impressed with Derby’s cool new paws. “The first time he was put on them and he just took off running, he was so happy,” says Sherry. “I was amazed at how well he did.”

You might notice that the prosthetics are relatively short. The reasoning is to help Derby slowly adjust to his change in height, so as time moves on, and Derby practices prancing around on his new legs, they can slowly adjust the height to even out with his hind legs.

After all of the negative publicity that 3-D printing technology has received due to its potential for creating weaponry, it’s nice to see such a humane example for how the it can be used for good. As with any huge advancement, such a tool can be implemented in a variety of directions.

“This is what 3-D printing is all about,” Anderson says. “To be able to help anybody. A dog, person, whoever … there’s no better thing to be involved in.”

Watch this dog run around on his own four feet for the first time. Click here to find out how they helped Derby!