Noodster Scootster: The Girl with Rear Wheel Drive
Story and Photos Contributed by Bree Corbin
Noodle, aka Noodster Scootster, is a smart, curious, and rambunctious puppy. She happens to be paralyzed, but don’t tell her that.
My husband, Kyle, and I were not looking for a puppy. We had just lost our dog of 14 years and we were planning on letting our other dog, Sampson, live his senior years peacefully.
Scrolling casually through social media one afternoon, I came across a video about Noodle at the Everett Animal Shelter near Seattle, WA. The video starts by showing her sitting and playing, then it shows her trying to move across the floor towards a toy. Due to a spinal cord injury at approximately 2 months old, she no longer could stand, walk, or move her back legs. She was hopping across the floor with such enthusiasm for her toy.
I showed my husband the video and we immediately started the process to adopt Noodle. After lots of consideration, research, and thought on our part, we were chosen to meet Noodle and adopt her if it was the right fit. Two weeks after seeing her initial video, we were taking Noodle home.
My husband and I are both physical therapists. Our area of expertise and experience is with neurological injuries like strokes, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, etc. We hope to use our skills to give her the best opportunities and strategies to live a full life. Due to Noodle’s spinal cord injury (the details of her injury are unknown but likely due to some type of trauma), she does not have functional and voluntary use of her back legs. Her legs do kick some (most who meet her think she is trying to walk), but this is due to abnormal muscle tone called spasticity and a reflex referred to as spinal walking.
Since Noodle joined us 4 months ago, we have lived our active lifestyle as usual and we have found ways for her to join. She has a scooter that allows her to be mobile over various terrains. She has logged several hikes, though they are short and minimal elevation gain for now. We had a surprisingly warm day this spring and started to paddleboard with her. She has traveled to areas near our Washington home such as Mount Baker, the Olympic Peninsula, Orcas Island, and British Columbia. She is only limited by our ability to imagine ways for her to accomplish any task an able bodied dog can do.
She does require extra care, such as assistance with regular toileting, therapy and monitoring her skin for wounds since she has no sensation. We have been able to combine our knowledge as human physical therapists with Noodle’s Canine Therapists at Northshore Veterinary Clinic. She receives a daily stretching program for joint mobility, workouts to engage her core muscles to keep her back half as strong as possible, and water therapy to utilize what movement she has in her back legs in a gravity reduced environment.
Noodle is just like any other 6-month-old puppy. She wants to run, play, fetch, and bite everything, including Sampson’s beard. She loves the beautiful outdoors around us, especially fetching all the sticks it has to offer. She has a very serious face that is captured in most photos, but she is a goofball at heart.
Our goals for Noodle are to adventure as much as possible. We have plans with a dog scooter company, Eddie’s Wheels, to build her final scooter that will allow more outdoor capabilities. We hope to find a device to utilize for biking trips where we can bring Noodle along with her scooter so she can run with us and ride with us as needed. Ultimately, we hope that Noodle can inspire others through stories like this one and through our work as physical therapists. She has the ability to encourage humans going through similar and more challenging physical difficulties that life will continue, rehab can help, and you can always find a way to live fully. When life throws Kyle and me challenges, it is inspirational to see our best friend meet her own great challenges head on with nothing but happiness and joy.
#MyDogIsMy Daily Inspiration
Read more about Noodle and follow her adventures on her blog and on Instagram. If you would like to support Noodle by assisting with her rehab costs, vet bills, and needed assistive device equipment for mobility, donations are accepted on her Go Fund Me page.