Bud’s wheel deal | TheUnion.com

Bud’s wheel deal

David MirhadiJennifer Cull of Penn Valley pets her dog, Bud, who gets around despite a degenerative disease with a custom-made harness with wheels.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Had it been a member of her family, Jennifer Cull would have done the same thing.

Fact is, Bud the dog is a part of her Penn Valley brood, as much as Cull’s husband Robert, son Gary Ruddel and her five dogs, her parrot and cockatiel are.

The fact that Bud tries his best to walk on four legs isn’t an issue.

That’s why Cull, 55, has spent the last month shuttling her 10-year-old Rottweiler/German shepherd mix to veterinarians, looking for answers to a mysterious ailment that has slowly rendered his hind legs useless.

“We thought it was arthritis,” said Cull, who noticed Bud limping recently. She took the dog to veterinarians at the Best Friends Animal Clinic, fearing he had broken bones or had some form of cancer.

After a few diagnoses, Cull received word that her dog – a beefy, friendly sort who’d jump to lick her face if he could – had degenerative myopia, a paralysis that slowly and methodically shuts down the canine’s body.

Rather than keep a good dog down, Cull, herself a survivor of uterine cancer, decided she’d give Bud a chance to enjoy the dog days of spring and summer, courtesy of a custom-made harness with wheels – a $300 dog chariot, if you will.

The device is manufactured by Doggone Wheels in Montana.

It allows Bud a chance to lope around Cull’s 21/2 acre property.

Cull, a sculptor by trade, received part of the money for the device from AnimalSave, a Grass Valley consortium committed to not let Bud go to the dogs. She’s often sold her work at the group’s annual art auction.

“His quality of life was terrible without this,” Cull said. “But since he’s not in pain, I saw no reason to put him to sleep.

“I wouldn’t even put my own grandmother to sleep,” she joked, adding, “We would have gone in hock or gotten a second mortgage” to see Bud walk again.

Save for his hind legs, Bud, who received his wheels less than a week ago, walks without tripping over the harness that keeps the wheels upright.

Cull’s son Ruddell, a member of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Germany, gave the dog to his mother four years ago, after he shipped out from Beale Air Force Base.

Bud was healthy then, and Cull’s determined to keep him that way now.

“We just take it one day at a time. It’s just great right now,” said Cull, who is also on the mend and is cancer-free. “We have a real good life, and I want the same for my animals.”

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