Prosthetics for a Pup

Staff Writer

By Lindsay Robins
O-N-E Reporter
When a dog is abandoned or homeless in North Carolina, there isn’t always a happy ending. In Catawba County, a small rescue is trying to change that, one story at a time.
Benson’s story starts in Greensboro, where he was found by animal lover and advocate, Mary Beth Hollar. He had been abandoned, was quite literally starving, hip bones and spine showing, had not been neutered, and due to a birth defect he was missing his back feet. “When we were contacted about Benson we had no clue what we were getting into medically or financially but we had a foster and some willing sponsors, so we took a chance”, stated Crystall Mosteller Hopson, founder of Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue. “We knew he needed the basics like neuter, vaccines, and dewormer, which usually costs about $150.00. However, Benson had heart worms, needed x-rays, and we determined, for him to live a normal life with a straight spine and level hips, he also needed prosthetics for his back legs”.
Since becoming a Hartman’s pup, Benson has received a life saving heart worm treatment, has been neutered, and is up to date on his vaccines. Recently, Benson has been spending time at Carolina Vet Specialists in Huntersville, where he was measured and fitted for the prosthetics that would allow him to live a normal life. Without prosthetics, Benson is able to walk, run, and play. However, his hips and spine are used improperly to compensate for his missing back feet. One of his back legs is longer than the other so he relies on the longer leg for mobility. With the prosthetics, Benson will be able to move in a way that will correct the use of his spine and hips, and protect the areas where his legs end, right above where his feet should be.
Benson’s prosthetics arrived last week. He will be spending the next few weeks training his body how to walk and play while wearing them. He doesn’t wear them all the time. In the beginning he will spend about an hour a day wearing them, building up muscle strength and adjusting to walking properly. “He’s doing well and trying to get used to using his left leg. He hasn’t had to use it since it’s shorter than the other leg”, Benson’s foster mom, Beth Bailey, says of his progress. “He does well. He gets around well, he gets along with my dogs and fosters. The only thing now is getting him used to his prosthetics and finding him a home.”
As Benson’s foster mom, Bailey is responsible for his daily care and teaching him what it means to be a member of a family. In Bailey’s care, Benson has a full belly, a soft place to sleep, and plenty of play time with his foster brothers and sisters. He is also house and crate trained, learning commands like sit and come, and how to walk on a leash. While Bailey is responsible for Benson’s day to day life, Hartman’s Haven is responsible for his medical costs. “With everything he needed, it ended up being almost $5,000.00 in medical expenses”, explained Hopson. “With our rescue being a small group, it takes lots of team work and effort to raise this kind of money.”
Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue for unwanted and homeless dogs, and sometime cats, in Catawba County. They are supported by donations and volunteers. Hartman’s Haven has fifty volunteers that assist with fostering, transport, and fundraising. “We do not have a shelter and operate solely out of a very small network of foster homes”, states Hopson. “We serve as a link between the county shelter and rescue groups up north that do not have the overpopulation that NC has, and are able to find homes for their animals faster than we can in our area.” In 2016, Hartman’s Haven, and its team of volunteers, saved 618 dogs. Since January of this year, they have already saved 309 dogs. In any given month, Hartman’s Haven saves between forty to sixty dogs through their team of volunteers, sponsors, and rescue partners. “We do our best to rescue dogs that other people would turn their back to because of medical problems. Without donations and sponsors we would not be able to help these dogs.”
To follow Benson’s progress, and see videos of him using his new prosthetics, follow Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue on Facebook.
If you are interested in making a donation or volunteering with Hartman’s Haven, visit for more information.