The Inspirers: Man gives disabled dogs new lease on life
The economic crisis in Venezuela makes it hard for many people to take care of pets -- especially ones with disabilities. But one man is giving disabled dogs a new lease on life. Mary Triny Mena reports from Caracas.
He's a builder and a designer and a dog lover who works wonders. Otto Zambrano applies the lessons he learned in engineering school to old wheels, PVC pipes and other scraps to help disabled dogs walk again.
OTTO ZAMBRANO DOG LOVER "I consider myself a giver of happiness, because animals become happier when I help them."
Today, Zambrano's getting ready to give some of that happiness to a seven-year-old poodle named Tita putting the final touches on a wheelchair he's made especially for her. Months ago, Tita suffered a spinal compression, leaving two of her legs paralyzed. Since then, she's spent much of her time in owner Maria Lahman's arms.
MARIA LAHMAN DOCTOR AND DOG OWNER "The veterinarian told me, 'You have two options. You can make her a car or you can put her to sleep.' And I said, no! In my mind no way would I do that."
Zambrano has helped dozens of dogs .some of them pets, some of them strays.
MARY TRINY MENA CARACAS "Caracas animal shelters say there's been a significant increase in the number of dogs abandoned in the city in the last several years. The economic crisis has forced millions of Venezuelans to leave the country and to leave their dogs behind."
Many of Otto Zambrano's devices have gone to dogs rescued by the non-profit Diario Adopta Foundation. One of them a chihuahua named Paris --- now back in the park, and back in the running, transformed by a device Otto made for her over a year ago
ANDREA RANGEL DIARIO ADOPTA FOUNDATION "They usually have a sad look but the moment they start to walk again, their look changes immediately."
Each device is made to order. As Zambrano fits the straps on Tita's wheelchair, he shows her how to use it, teaching her how to walk again.
Zambrano makes the mobility devices for the disabled dogs in Caracas free of charge .and as Tita starts her new life his gift of happiness is there for all to see. Mary Triny Mena, CGTN, Caracas.