Disabled border collie ‘wakes up happy every day’

Posted April 12, 2012, at 10:22 p.m.
Roosevelt waits for others to catch up during a walk in the woods on Saturday in Portland. He was named after one of the most famous wheelchair users, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt waits for others to catch up during a walk in the woods on Saturday in Portland. He was named after one of the most famous wheelchair users, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Buy Photo
Roosevelt stands on two legs, waiting for someone to throw his ball. His handicap forced him to develop exceptionally strong back legs, allowing him to hop and balance much like a kangaroo.
Roosevelt stands on two legs, waiting for someone to throw his ball. His handicap forced him to develop exceptionally strong back legs, allowing him to hop and balance much like a kangaroo. Buy Photo
Roosevelt bounds away after being unstrapped from his wheels after a walk with his owner, Stephanie Fox.
Roosevelt bounds away after being unstrapped from his wheels after a walk with his owner, Stephanie Fox. Buy Photo
Roosevelt pops a wheelie to get over a pipe during a walk, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. The $900 custom-built cart compensates for his handicap. &quotIt's his front-wheel drive," says his owner, Stephanie Fox.
Roosevelt pops a wheelie to get over a pipe during a walk, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. The $900 custom-built cart compensates for his handicap. "It's his front-wheel drive," says his owner, Stephanie Fox. Buy Photo
Katie Anderson, of Freeport, helps put Roosevelt into his wheels before heading out on a walk.
Katie Anderson, of Freeport, helps put Roosevelt into his wheels before heading out on a walk. Buy Photo
A motorist slows down to check out Roosevelt on Saturday in Portland. &quotEveryone is curious, " says his owner, Stephanie Fox. &quotA little kid thought he came from the Land of Misfit Toys," the fictional place in the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
A motorist slows down to check out Roosevelt on Saturday in Portland. "Everyone is curious, " says his owner, Stephanie Fox. "A little kid thought he came from the Land of Misfit Toys," the fictional place in the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Buy Photo
Roosevelt is barely slowed down by obstacles like roots. He often accompanies a group of mountain bikers on trips through the woods.
Roosevelt is barely slowed down by obstacles like roots. He often accompanies a group of mountain bikers on trips through the woods. Buy Photo
Roosevelt leads the way on a walk along Stevens Avenue with his owner, Stephanie Fox (left) and Katie Anderson, with her border collie, Denali, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. Roosevelt is trained to listen for voice commands, allowing him occasional freedom from leash, even along busy streets.
Roosevelt leads the way on a walk along Stevens Avenue with his owner, Stephanie Fox (left) and Katie Anderson, with her border collie, Denali, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. Roosevelt is trained to listen for voice commands, allowing him occasional freedom from leash, even along busy streets. Buy Photo
Roosevelt bolts up a set of stairs, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. The border collie was born with deformed front legs.
Roosevelt bolts up a set of stairs, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. The border collie was born with deformed front legs. Buy Photo
Stephanie Fox carries Roosevelt at her home, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. &quotHe doesn't like to go down stairs because he can't control his balance," Fox said. &quotBut he really will do anything else, once he knows he won't get hurt."
Stephanie Fox carries Roosevelt at her home, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. "He doesn't like to go down stairs because he can't control his balance," Fox said. "But he really will do anything else, once he knows he won't get hurt." Buy Photo
Roosevelt gets a hug from his owner, Stephanie Fox, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. &quotPeople say, 'Oh, the poor thing.' But he wakes up happy every day. He doesn't know he's different."
Roosevelt gets a hug from his owner, Stephanie Fox, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Portland. "People say, 'Oh, the poor thing.' But he wakes up happy every day. He doesn't know he's different." Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — When Stephanie Fox went to see the puppy almost three years ago at New England Border Collie Rescue, she knew the breed didn’t always make the best pet. As an experienced owner of other border collies, she was well aware of their need for constant work and attention. So how much more of a challenge would it be if she adopted one with deformed front legs?

“The only difference between Roosevelt and other dogs is that instead of a collar I snap on his wheels to take him out,” she said.

“People think he should have been put down because they think he’s suffering,” she said. “But he wakes up happy every day. If you had a child with a disability you’d try to enrich them, give them opportunities. So why not do the same with a dog?”

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