This is the amazing tale of Derby the dog. The life of this little pup born with withered front legs took a radical turn when he met an animal lover named Tara Anderson. See the power of tech to change lives – all species welcome.
“I came across Derby a little over three months ago,” said Anderson said in a video (link below). “I kept looking at his photo and hearing his story, and I cried literally every time. Finally, [I said] OK, I’ll do it… I had to try to help this dog.”
She’d learned about Derby through animal rescue group Peace and Paws and decided to help find a fix for his mobility limitations. She took him in as a foster, and fitted him with a small wheeled cart to make it easier for the dog to get around. She suspected that her team of designers could do better; Anderson works for 3D Systems, a manufacturing company in South Carolina that specializes in 3D-printing.
Working with Derrick Campana, an expert in animal prosthetics, she incited a team of colleagues to make new “legs” for the puppy to allow him live out his full potential as an energetic pet. After trialing several designs, they chose an oval-tread shape, designed to fit Derby’s unique anatomy.
You can see they were an incredible success.
dog gets 3D printed paws
In the process, Derby found an adoptive home with Sherri and Dom Portanova. “The first time he was put on them, he took off running,” said Sherri, “I was absolutely amazed at how well he did.” Her husband added that Derby now runs with the couple “at least two to three miles” every day. “He runs faster than both of us,” he said. “He’s just so happy.”
“It was incredible and emotional the first time we saw him run on his new legs,” Sherry says. “Incredible because it was his very first time on them and emotional because he was so excited to be running. Derby was born with this deformity so he never really knew any different; he was a happy dog. However, his new legs have allowed him to run on concrete, play with other dogs and overall be more mobile.”
To learn more about how Derby’s prosthetics were made, watch the video.