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Off Leash: Reinventing the Wheel(chair)

Sumner Fowler
Jan Darmody loved volunteering at the spay/neuter clinic at the Marin Humane Society—but her aching back didn’t. After animals came out of surgery at the shelter in Novato, Calif., Darmody laid them on blankets on the clinic floor, frequently crouching down to check on them as the anesthesia wore off. Whenever an animal was ready to return to his kennel but not yet able to walk, the transport took some maneuvering.

“You’ve got to get down on your knees and pick this animal up in your arms, being very careful to support the animal’s head and back and everything, and stand up from a kneeling position without being able to use your hands to boost yourself up,” says Darmody. “For those of us of a certain age, that’s pretty difficult to do.”

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