With the help of USA Prosthetist Traci Kilmartin, A mixed hound puppy born without a complete right front leg,
gets a new leg, a new home, and new a job.
We all know someone that’s an animal lover – the type of person that’s always taking in stray animals and persistently looking for good homes where they can be cared for and loved. Traci Kilmartin is one of those animal lovers that make it more than a hobby to help animals in any way she can – for her it’s a mission. Traci and her husband Shawn moved to the Chattanooga area so they could have more room to take in rescue goats. Currently they have eight goats, four dogs, four chickens, two cats, two ducks, a horse and a mule.
When she’s not taking care of animals, Traci is a certified prosthetist at University Surgical Associates. She spends her days working with people who have lost limbs, helping them determine what type of prosthesis would best meet their physical needs and that would help them live a more active lifestyle.
“Any prosthetist has a different vision for what they do,” says Traci. “Personally, I bring motivation, enthusiasm and encouragement to people as we work through the process to find solutions that work for them and help them meet their goals.”
Last year, Traci’s personal passion and professional experience came together to help make a prosthetic paw for a sweet puppy named Keating. After a call from the Marion Animal Resource Connection, she and Shawn brought the dog home to look at his leg. They created a cast (He was a good little trooper, according to Traci!), and then they brought the mold into the office where they filled it with plaster and created his puppy prosthesis.
“We made a booty that he could wear around the house to keep his limb from bleeding and developing callouses,” says Traci. “The other option was an outdoor version that is similar to what runners use so he could run and play outside.”
Because Keating would need new prosthetic limbs every 6 weeks as he continued to grow, the best placement for him was with someone that had the resources – or that could make one themselves. Traci put a letter up on a website visited by prosthetists around the country and connected with Mark Miller, owner of Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics in Parkersburg, Virginia. Marion Animal Rescue ultimately placed Keating with him, and he’s now the beloved pet and mascot for their company.
When asked why she was willing to do so much for Keating – and other animals that need her help – Traci points out that we all have the power to help in small ways.
“I just do it. I do it because I love animals, and I want them to have the opportunity for a happy life. I want them to run and play,” she says. “I have the ability to help, so I know I need to do keep doing what I can.”
If this story touched your heart or made you smile, please share it anyone who needs a little sunshine today! To see more photos of Keating and keep up with his adventures, click here.