A reptile got the ability to move around once again after an engineer designed a wheelchair for her.
Millie, who is a resilient bearded dragon contacted a Metabolic Bone Disease, that makes the bones extremely brittle by inhibiting the supply of calcium to them.
The bones of the poor reptile grew so brittle that her back broke when her former owner tried to lift her up.
Watch to learn more of Millie’s story below!
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Video credit: Rumble
But thanks to a ‘miracle’ device designed by an apprentice engineer, the reptile can now move around on her own.
Millie was rescued from Maryport, Cumberland. Her previous owner listed her on Facebook for “free to a good home” because they could not provide the care the disabled lizard needed.
Twenty-year-old Amy Dobson, who is a volunteer adopter for an animal sanctuary, took Millie home because she was “heartbroken” on the misery of the poor animal.
Millie has a twisted spine, measuring a couple of inches shorter than a normal bearded dragon.
She couldn’t use her rear limbs and had to drag her body around to move. As if it wasn’t enough, her hunched back made breathing difficult for her.
But luckily for little Millie, Sarah Lewin, who’s an apprentice engineer, designed a tiny wheelchair for the reptile, making it possible for Millie to move around.
The chair is crafted out of aluminum and to make it comfortable, it is upholstered in a soft fabric. The wheelchair is fixed to the dragon’s body via two Velcro straps.
The device is designed in a fashion to support the major share of Millie’s weight and to keep her chest above the ground.
It makes it very easy for her to move around and her breathing problem is also somewhat resolved.
Amy, who is a restaurant worker, explained: “The difference in Millie now is unbelievable. The wheelchair has been life-changing for her.
“It was really emotional for me to see her use the wheelchair for the first time because I had seen how much pain she was in when she tried to move using her own legs.
“She has a lump in her back from where it has fractured and tried to repair itself and she can’t contract the muscles in her back legs.”
Amy added: “When we first got her, the best she could do was shuffle and move front legs very slowly. She gave up even trying to move in the end because she knew she couldn’t.
“But now she is so much more confident, she knows when she tries to move, I’ll put her in her wheelchair and she can get about.”
Amy adopted Millie in 2018 when Emma Kelt from Forever Friends Animal Sanctuary took notice of the Facebook post where Millie was listed.
In the beginning, Emma and Amy decided to take Millie to a vet to be put down.
However, as they waited for their appointment with the vet for euthanizing Millie, Amy noticed that she had a hope and will to live.
Millie watched people walking around in the room with curiosity and made eye contact with Amy. And it was when they changed their decision.
Amy said: “She is very small for a dragon. Her spine is twisted, we think because she hadn’t moved for so long. She was in a really bad way when we got her.
“Thankfully she was sent away from the vets with pain killers and a very strong calcium supplement. It was a miracle, that this sweet girl might just have a life ahead of her.”
Millie’s condition continued to improve while she was at Amy’s home with her parents Karen and Craig but the lack of mobility was still a challenge that she had to overcome.
Craig talked to an engineer friend in August to see if they could make something to help the lizard. It was how Sarah learned about the reptile.
She started the project as her course work and came up with the tiny wheelchair for Millie.
Excited on getting the help for Millie, Amy said: “It took Millie a while to get the hang of it at first, but she has come on leaps and bounds.
“She is able to keep her chest up a lot which will help prevent issues such as respiratory infections and food getting stuck in her beard.”