'Bionic Dog' Walks on 4 Prosthetic Paws

By Laura Moss, Mother Nature Network

A mixed-breed dog named Nakio is making headlines for becoming the first canine to receive four artificial limbs.

Nicknamed the "bionic dog," Nakio gets around well on his prosthetic paws, and he's come a long way since his rescue.

When he was a puppy, Nakio was abandoned in a Nebraska house during the winter, and he was found frozen in a puddle in the home's basement. He was suffering from severe malnourishment, mange and frostbite. His mom was already dead.

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Veterinarians nursed the weeks-old puppy back to health, but he lost all four paws, the tip of his tail and part of his nose to frostbite. Veterinary assistant Christie Pace of Colorado Springs, Colo., adopted the pup when he was 8 weeks old and brought him home.

"I have a soft spot for rescue animals in general," she told ABC News. "I was looking for something different, unique. I wanted to make more of a difference than with a regular dog."

Nakio's feet eventually healed into rounded stumps and he managed to get around by scooting across the floor, but as he grew, he had more difficulty getting around. Walking upright was painful, and hard surfaces were challenging to move across.

Concerned for her disabled dog, Pace raised enough funds to purchase two bionic limbs from Orthopets, a Denver veterinary hospital that specializes in animal prosthetics.

Nakio was fitted with two prosthetic paws on his hind legs, but the Orthopets staff was so impressed by the dog that they outfitted him with two more and covered the cost.

"When we saw how good he was going with his back leg prosthetics and how he was struggling to use his front legs it was very simple to say, 'we gotta keep with him," explains OrthoPets owner Martin Kaufmann. "He could do much better with all four prosthetics on."

With his new limbs, Nakio can now run, jump and play like a normal dog. And thanks to the "no-slip grip" of his bicycle-tread paws, he no longer has any trouble getting around on slick surfaces.

Inspired by Nakio's success, Pace started a rescue organization in his name. Nakio's Underdog Rescue works to find loving homes for disabled cats and dogs.

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This story original appeared on Mother Nature Network and was reprinted with permission here. Copyright 2013 MNN. All rights reserved.

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