INDIANAPOLIS - A tiny, disabled Chihuahua has a much slicker ride after news organizations from all over the world picked up the story Scripps Sister Station RTV6 first broke last month.
Monetary donations came pouring in by the thousands. A mechanical engineer in San Diego has even made several versions of a mobility cart for TurboRoo.
Mark Deadrick is the president of 3dyn, llc , an aerospace and high performance vehicle fabrications shop that also makes components for space vehicles.
"We have capabilities to make just about anything, but we lean toward things that we find interesting," Deadrick wrote in an email. "Usually that's something that either flies, has wheels and goes fast. TurboRoo meets that requirement (sans the fast part I suppose) and I thought I'd spend a small amount of time coming up with an interim solution."
Deadrick had hoped one of the racing companies in Indianapolis would be willing to help with a digital 3D scan of the puppy so he could model the cart to his body, but was unable to make that happen. So, he improvised.
"I just did some thumbnail measurements from photos and spent about 20 minutes designing a cart, hit print on one of our 3D printers and let it run for 4 hours," he said. "I figured some inline wheels would have the least amount of resistance and would be easily obtained, so a trip to the sporting goods store was probably the most time consuming part."
Since getting involved last month after reading the story online, Deadrick has made three versions of the cart. TurboRoo is still using the prototype. The second version was too small and the third one is currently in the mail on its way to Indianapolis.
The Chihuahua has overcome several obstacles after a birth defect stunted the growth of his front legs. At 1 month old, an Indianapolis couple turned him over to The Downtown Veterinarian explaining that he was in danger of starving to death. The other puppies in the litter at their home weren’t allowing the runt to eat. He weighed a mere 10 ounces.
Veterinary technician Ashely Looper took him home that night and has been caring for him ever since.
She and the staff couldn’t decide whether to name him Turbo, after the DreamWorks snail who dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500 or Roo because he looks like a kangaroo. Ashley just recently decided to combine the two names.
Despite dozens of requests from people everywhere to adopt TurboRoo after the RTV6 story went viral, the veterinarians who run the practice knew he had already found his forever home with Looper and her boyfriend Ray. The couple will keep him permanently.
Looper said TurboRoo is getting faster on his cart every week. He’s getting healthier too, now weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces. The online fundraising account she set up now has more than $3,500.
Looper said she will use it to buy a cart when TurboRoo is fully grown at around 6 months old. The rest will go toward paying for carts for other dogs with disabilities, calling the program "TurboRoo’s Buddies."
Follow TurboRoo’s progress here: