Patrick Boyd Photography
On their way to the local park, Gail Milligan and her two rescue dogs are used to getting some pretty strange looks. Daily walks are quite a spectacle when your beloved pups have disabilities and need to rely on special wheelchairs to run around, chasing new adventures.
Gail, 41, was never one to give up on the sick and abandoned animals nobody else wants, and has learned to ignore the stares and rude comments. She’s just happy that her girls Rina, a Schnauzer cross, and Princess Sasha, a Corgi cross, are still alive and so active.
“We know we’re having fun, and that’s all that matters!” says the big-hearted animal lover, who brought the dogs to Scotland after they’d been run over by cars and left with serious spinal injuries in Transylvania and Romania.
But just a few years ago, it was a very different story. Gail, who lives with her animal-loving mom Rae, 71, first heard about Princess Sasha’s plight after one of her three Scottish dogs, Lucy, became ill with a degenerative neurological condition.
“It was a bit like motor neurone disease in humans. She became very wobbly on her legs. I started looking at special animal wheelchairs on the internet for her to get around in,” she recalls.
Luckily, Gail’s vet prescribed steroids that Lucy responded well to, and she didn’t need a chair in the end. But it was while talking to a man who makes these special dog wheelchairs when Gail heard about his work rescuing dogs who were left to die after road accidents abroad.
Even though she had two other dogs at the time — a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex and Labrador Collie cross named Tink — Gail agreed to provide a home for Princess Sasha, who was brought over to live with her in January 2012. “I’ve always been an animal lover, and I've always taken in the ones nobody else would want because they had problems,” she says.
Soon, feisty Princess Sasha was fitted with a made-to-measure wheelchair. Her paralyzed back legs were slotted through a saddle, and two wheels replaced their use. Soon enough, she was ready to ride.
Eventually, Rina joined them from Romania. Though she was initially going to be fostered in Gail's home, she ended up staying with Gail and her mom after she became best friends with Princess Sasha. Now, the dynamic duo even have their own Facebook page.
"They have an amazing attitude and zest for life. They’re absolutely inseparable. They love each other so much,” says Gail, who also has a paralyzed cat, Angel, who also uses a wheelchair. “Once they get used to using wheels for legs, they don’t even think about it! They can go down steps and plough straight through mud. After everything they’ve been through, they just want to live and experience everything. It’s lovely to see the difference."
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.