Wheely Willy (Wheely Willy)

Wheely Willy

Willy was found abandoned in a cardboard box with spinal injuries and a cut throat. Taken in by a veterinary hospital and treated, Willy stayed there for a year unadopted. Learning that the dog would be euthanised if not adopted, pet groomer Deborah Turner decided to bring him home.  Initially, the two pound (one kilogram) Willy needed to be carried everywhere, but Turner made several attempts to allow the dog to move autonomously. She tried attaching large helium-filled balloons to the dog’s hindquarters and then placing him on a skateboard, with little success. Ultimately, an advertisement for K-9 Carts, a type of wheelchair designed for canine applications, came to her attention. Willy adapted to this mode of transportation in short order; curiosity from Turner’s customers and acquaintances led to local news coverage and steadily increased to international notability.

Willy made visits internationally, most often to hospitals, but he also participated in such events as the Cystic Fibrosis Fun Walk and the Los Angeles Marathon. He made several appearances on television talk shows and news programs.  The dog’s tenacity and good nature are frequently cited as an inspiration by people who have encountered him.  Wheely Willy died on December 22, 2009. He and his owner had both sustained injuries when the owner slipped on a porch made wet and slick from a rainstorm. Willy was unable to recover from his injuries.

More Images

  • JPN: Paraplegic Chihuahua Wheels Into Tokyo - TOKYO - JULY 4: Willy the paraplegic Chihuahua from Long Beach, California, strolls in a bookshop on July 4, 2004 in Tokyo Japan. 'Wheely Willy,' with his special K-9 cart wheelchair and his owner, Deborah Turner, are on their first trip to Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)


  • January, 01, 1991


  • December, 22, 2009
  • USA
  • Long Beach, California

Cause of Death

  • complications from fall

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