Minnesota high school student is on a mission to provide mobility for animals with mobility issues.
Shaine Kilyun builds wheelchairs for animals in distress during her free time. The 16-year old relies on YouTube tutorials to perfect the craft as she has no one to help her. As she makes more devices, her process and final products become more refined.
Each wheelchair is customized based on the animals’ specific needs. Shaine has already created mobility devices that are customized for dogs, cats, and soon, a duck.
Shaine is self-taught so she works on a trial-and error basis. She has made wheelchairs for animals of all shapes and sizes—from a tiny Chihuahua to a huge Great Dane. She has also created a unique locomotion aid to help a hedgehog.
Even though she is only a teenager, Shaine is already doing amazing work for these animals. The impact of her mission can’t be underestimated, especially because mobility can save animals from being euthanized. This young woman is literally saving lives, and she’s just getting started.
“I just love animals, and I wanted to make a difference somehow,” she told Fox 9. “I’ve saved a few lives, and I really hope to save more.”
Shaine also launched Wheelies Dog and Cat Wheelchairs Instagram account to let the world know about her handmade and affordable wheelchairs. Her main goal is not to make money, but to make these devices more accessible.
The teen charges only for the total cost of her materials, so her products are way more affordable than any of the mainstream wheelchairs you’d find on the market. Her wheelchairs average $300 in cost, while similar devices from larger companies can go for up to $1,000.
Shaine hopes pet owners will enjoy a better quality of living because of the affordability of her creations. She also reached out and helped animals in shelters.
Shaine must understand the needs of each animal before starting to build. Based on the needs of the animal, Shaine offers front-support and full-support models.
One of the recent recipients of Shaine’s custom wheelchairs was Scooter, a paraplegic dog who came here from Saudi Arabia via the Home For Life Sanctuary. The pup can’t use his legs, so he just drags his body forward, causing him to develop sores and lesions where his legs scrape the ground. This puts him at risk for infection. Shaine provided a special wheelchair for him.
Shaine shared photos on Instagram of Scooter in his customized wheelchair. The pup seemed to love it!
“This is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! Scooter, who arrived in Saudi Arabia from Saudi Arabia, received a custom Wheelies wheelchair. It means the world to me,” she wrote.
Many people who have heard about Shaine’s mission for the animals are pitching in and helping raise funds for the teen so that she can continue her good work.
Lisa LaVerdiere, founder and director of operations for Home for Life Sanctuary said that it has been more difficult to raise funds because of the financial hardships caused the pandemic.
“It’s very hard to raise money in these times. So for her to make not one cart but two carts for us probably saved us close to $1,000,” LaVerdiere said.
She’s grateful to Shaine for the time and effort she has devoted into making these animals’ lives easier.
“A lot of people have reached out and donated, which is just incredible,” Shaine said.
If you want to help animals with special needs gain mobility, you can donate via Zelle to Wheeliesdogwheelchairs@gmail.com. Visit the Instagram page.
Shaine, thank you for this amazing initiative! The video below explains more about her project.
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