So, the above dog is Buddha, a 13-year-old San Francisco pug who suffers from Degenerative Myelopathy, a nerve disorder that afflicts a lot of older dogs (my dog had it, so I can tell you from experience that it sucks). The disease makes it harder and harder for dogs to walk, and eventually they require assistance for longer distances and help with obstacles like stairs. Sure, he can hobble around on his own (albeit in a diaper) for short distances, but he was having a rough time.
"The best we can do," guardian Melissa Mitchell-Treviño writes, "is make the most of the function he has left and make his last years as enjoyable as possible." That's why this May they had the set of wheels made for him, the same ones you see at the top of this article.
"For the first time in many, many years, he was able to run and keep up with our other dog again. He went from barely making it through a short walk without stumbling and falling over to easily taking 2-3 mile walks again. It.Was.Awesome," Mitchell-Treviño writes.
Then on September 13, someone stole this dog's set of wheels, because everything has to be awful all the time, doesn't it?
"It's hard for me to carry him AND his chair and the two leashes and bring the other dog downstairs at the same time," Mitchell-Treviño writes, "so I usually get the chair in position at the bottom of the stairs and carry him right down so he can go directly into the chair when we get to the bottom step, but in the time between me putting the chair on the bottom step, running back up the stairs and grabbing him and going back down the steps again the chair and both of our leashes were gone."
Though she covered her neighborhood "asking everyone I saw if they had seen someone running through the area with a weird looking red metal contraption (I quickly realized that most people have never seen a dog wheelchair so asking about a dog wheelchair got a lot of confused looks)," she had no luck tracking the stolen items down.
A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson confirms that Mitchell-Treviño filed a report following the theft, and Mitchell-Treviño says that SFPD has "also offered to circulate fliers to the entire department to do what they can to help recover his cart."
But, in the meantime, Buddha's back where he started, sort of staggering around in a diaper. "I'd like to get a new cart for him, but they aren't cheap," Mitchell-Treviño writes, saying that Buddha's "will be about $400 after shipping." That's why she launched a GoFundMe to cover the costs, saying that if his original wheels are recovered "the money raised here [will go] towards the reward offered to the person finding/returning it."
And if it isn't recovered, any money raised above the cost of Buddha's new wheels "will go towards other ongoing medical expenses he has."
But, still, who the hell steals a dog's wheels and leashes? What an unprofitable, stupid, pointless crime.