MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – A goat surrendered to the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS) in Gwinn, Michigan, a few weeks ago is learning to walk again, and she’s had a lot of help along the way.
Naomi Noordyk-Piirala and her husband Tim own Dead River Farm. When they first met Pumpkin, they knew she had to join their herd.
“The original call was just for the other goat. My husband and I went to UPAWS. We saw her and just saw how much she wanted to thrive, and we couldn’t leave her there,” Noordyk-Piirala told Nexstar’s WJMN.
What Noordyk-Piirala saw was that one of Pumpkin’s legs wasn’t functioning properly.
From there, Pumpkin and her new family were connected with Samantha Eckert at Northern Orthotics & Prosthetics. Pumpkin isn’t their typical client.
“We provide bracing and artificial limbs to humans, ranging from children to adults. That’s our main focus. But we often have people contact us about their pets who, a lot of times feel like they are part of the family anyway. We’ve tried to help out as much as we can,” Eckert told WJMN.
After seeing some pictures and videos, Eckert said there was no question she wanted to help. The first step was evaluating Pumpkin to see if she could even physically use a prosthesis.
“We took a mold of her leg in order to make a custom socket or top part of the prosthesis that would get strapped on her. We took the mold and then I brought it back to the lab. I was able to turn it into a mold of her leg and then modify it to create this custom plastic socket version of her leg.” Eckert continued, “Then we just assembled from there. I had to do some research to figure out what the foot should look like and how she was going to be able to walk with it because I don’t work with animals very much. It was a fun opportunity for me to do some research too.”
“I have a feeling me and Pumpkin are going to be friends for a long time. We’ll probably end up making a couple iterations of the socket and maybe change some things with the grip on the foot. We won’t really know until we try it. Like I said, this is my first goat. We’ll see how it goes and I’m sure Naomi and I will stay in touch,” said Eckert.
You can follow Pumpkin’s journey through Dead River Farm’s Facebook page.