For over a decade, Derrick Campana has been giving pets and animals who’ve lost their limbs a second chance at life.
Campana was a certified prosthetist who started out helping war veterans and other human amputees with specialized limb prosthetics. Then, his career took a turn in the direction of animal care. Around 14 years ago, Derrick was approached by a veterinarian who had seen the exceptional work he had produced for humans. He asked Derrick if he could make something similar only for a dog.
“I can try to help you. But I’ve never worked on a dog before,” Derrick recalled telling him. And, it worked out rather well. What he learned was that this was a whole new, wide-open market that he could tap, while helping animals in need at the same time.
The result was a company that he created in 2016 called Animal Ortho Care. They’ve helped over 20,000 animals from around the worlds, helping literally dozens of different species. They’ve created prosthetics for donkeys, dogs, eagles, and even elephants.
A few particular cases really stand out. A baby pony named Angel Marie had lost her ability to walk at all after her mother stepped on her front leg and it had to be amputated. It was a beautiful moment when Derrick’s prosthetics allowed her to walk again, literally giving her a second chance at life.
“It’s a really great thing,” Angel Marie’s owner told The Telegraph. “The prosthetics, if it wasn’t for that she wouldn’t have made it.”
Another remarkable case was a dog named Hudson, whose legs were injured and was found literally nailed to train tracks in upstate New York. Hudson’s new owners were in tears when they fitted him with new prosthetic legs and he immediately ran off on his own.
“He was crying, I was tearing up,” Derrick had told SPE. “It’s one of the best moments… When all these things lined up together, and we fit him with new prosthesis … and he just ran away. It all lined up. Perfection.”
Not only that, but Hudson went on to become an inspirational therapy dog for war veterans and other amputees.
“When he walks in and sees amputees and war vets like I used to treat, he’s able to give them a sense of relief and show them that, ‘Oh if this dog can overcome this handicap, then I can too,’” said Derrick.
It’s stories like Hudson’s that Derrick hopes will spread awareness of the possibilities for pets who’ve lost their limbs. He believes that if more pet owners knew about such prosthetics, they could improve the lives of thousands more animals.
His company’s mission is to “revolutionize rehabilitation and pain management in the animal world.” Meanwhile, they are also giving back to the global community by working with non-profits and animal sanctuaries, including Elephants Foundation and the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.