Overconfident hares have been underestimating tortoises for years. But not even the most arrogant of fast furry animals would overlook one Sulcata Tortoise from Knoxville, Tennessee. This inspiration in a half shell has a bone disease that makes walking difficult. But he’s getting around a lot easier now, thanks to a custom wheelchair that has him ready to hit the racetrack with his new wheels.
11-year-old George Bailey the Tortoise (whose story we first heard about at My Modern Met) is now living a wonderful life. He was born with a metabolic bone disease. As a result, his rear legs did not fully develop. While they work, they are not strong enough to let the 70-pound tortoise move normally. He mainly dragged himself forward with his front leg. The problem was only going to get worse the bigger he got. And since he could one day weigh more than 200 pounds, his owner, Jaime Loebener, reached out to Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com for help.
The company was happy to help. They created a custom wheelchair for George that utilizes their indoor mobility device the Walkin’ Scooter as a base. A harness goes over top of his shell to keep him secure in the scooter. Underneath is a specifically designed cushion to make him comfortable, because Sulcata Tortoises have a convex contour on the bottom of their shell. While George almost certainly won’t be winning any races anytime soon, he’ll at least look like a threat to zoom away with his all terrain wheels. With those babies no hare will ever take him lightly again.
Not that he cares about how fast he can go. George has more important things to do, like enjoy walking with a lot less trouble. Loebener told Walkin’ Pets George “is very enthusiastic about his wheelchair,” and that he took to it immediately. So while his story might not end up as a famous fable, we like the ending to this tale a lot more.