Dachshund in wheelchair works as therapy dog

Lance, a South Florida Dachshund who was paralyzed two years ago, visits patients at Miami’s Children’s Hospital once a week to help cheer them up.

After surgery failed to cure Lance, his owners got him a wheelchair, the Miami Herald reports.

“The wheelchair was a natural thing for him. He got movement back,” (his owner Claudia) Machado said. “He was moving around the office as he always would. It was the coolest day of my life because I could see in his face that he was excited to be moving around.”

The chair has Lance’s name on it.

But rediscovering his mobility was only the beginning for Lance and his family. Having experienced the trauma of illness and disability — albeit on a canine scale — Stinchi and Machado started thinking: What if their beloved pet could help sick children deal with their loss?

That’s when the couple discovered Therapy Dog Inc., a Wyoming-based organization that provides training, tests and registration for therapy dogs around the country.

“A lot of people think that if your dog is paralyzed, you have to put him down,” Machado said. “But that’s when his story began.”

In 2008, Therapy Dog certified Lance. And both Machado and her husband Stinchi became certified pet handlers.

“Lance loves kids,” Stinchi said. “He relates to kids better than adults.”

Read the whole story.

Update August 18, 2010: Here’s some video of Lance.