Entrepreneur

Being Disabled Is No Longer A Death Penalty For Dogs In M'sia, Thanks To This Couple

  • Dog Wheelchair Malaysia is a business started by Wong Che Wey and his wife Cheng Yee Leng in December 2017 that make bespoke wheelchairs for disabled dogs.
  • All wheelchairs are custom-made by the couple to fit individual dogs according to their disability, with prices for each wheelchair starting at RM300.
  • The couple hope to convince people not to put down disabled dogs, but instead to give them a chance to live freely by using wheelchairs.

Instead of being put to sleep, the paraplegic dog called Frosty found a new lease of life when he was adopted by Wong Che Wey in August 2017.

“I came across him on Facebook,” Che Wey said. “He needed to be relocated as he was dragging his hind legs along, causing his skin severe damage.”

With the intention to give Frosty the chance at a better life, Che Wey went on a search for an apparatus that would allow Frosty to move freely again—a wheelchair for dogs.

“As I was looking around for a dog wheelchair on the net, I found that they were all expensive,” he said. “Even a practical one would cost RM1,000.”

This was when he decided to flex his DIY know-how and build one himself, fashioning a doggy wheelchair out of PVC pipes and saving himself some hard-earned cash.

“It took me two weeks of trial and error before I settled on the right design,” Che Wey said. “Then on the 5th of December last year, I decided to start a Facebook page in order to reach out to more disabled dogs.”

Today, Che Wey runs Dog Wheelchair Malaysia as an online side business alongside his wife Cheng Yee Leng out of their home in Klang, with Che Wey working full-time as a technical trainer certified by Mercedez-Benz Malaysia’s Apprentice Training Centre.

Image Credit: Dog Wheelchair Malaysia

“We have no prior experience in building dog wheelchairs but we love DIY,” Che Wey explained. “I build the wheelchairs and my wife does all the tailoring for the harnesses and straps.”

A New Lease Of Life

While many might opt to deal with paraplegic dogs by putting them to sleep—often citing poor quality of life as the reason—Che Wey believes that all dogs should be given a fighting chance.

“Most of these disabled dogs are being abandoned or put to sleep,” he explained. “But give them wheels and they can freely move like the others.”

“Our goal is to create awareness about giving these paralysed dogs a second chance.”

While it might often seem the easy option to put a disabled dog out of its misery, there have been many incidences where immobility did not prevent dogs from living a happy life. In a number of cases, disabled dogs have even proven to be highly effective at providing therapy and emotional support to humans.

All of the wheelchairs made by Che Wey and his wife are hand-crafted and custom-made to fit each individual dog, with the couple working based on measurements provided to them by dog owners. Sometimes, Che Wey even travels to meet customers for fittings and adjustments upon request.

Image Credit: Dog Wheelchair Malaysia

“We couldn’t come up with a one-size-fits-all design,” he explains. “This was because different dogs have different body postures with some other parts being badly deformed due to accidents or birth defects.”

Today after just over a month of officially starting business (and spending RM1,000 on power tools and raw materials), Che Wey has sold more than 10 doggy wheelchairs with each wheelchair going for around RM300 to RM350 according to the prices listed on their Facebook page.

There are even options to add accessories such as safety reflectors and lights to the wheelchairs.

Growing Pains

In terms of obstacles, Che Wey states that the main problem that both he and his wife are currently facing is the high freight costs caused by large sizes of their wheelchairs when shipping to customers.

On that point, the couple are now planning to ship out their wheelchairs in “CKD” (complete-knock-down) form, meaning that customers will receive the wheel chairs in easy-to-assemble parts instead of the finished product. This methodthe couple hopeswill reduce costs for both them and their customers.

Image Credit: Dog Wheelchair Malaysia

Currently, they are focused on making their wheelchairs better and expanding their product line. They are also in the process of designing an four-wheel all-terrain version of their dog wheelchair and are also hoping to start building wheelchairs to help other disabled animals.

“We want to expand to building for paralysed cats, as we get many requests,” said Che Wey.

The Path In Front

With a long journey ahead, the couple are hoping that their current venture will be able to make an impact in regards to creating better lives for disabled dogs and at the same provide them at a price that won’t burden owners.

Image Credit: Dog Wheelchair Malaysia

“Dog Wheelchair Malaysia creates bespoke dog wheelchairs without causing a hole in your pocket,” he said.

“Whenever we build and fit a dog with a wheelchair, we see their happiness at being able to move freely, and the feeling is priceless.”

  • Check out Dog Wheelchair Malaysia’s Facebook page for more information about the couple and their journey.

Image Credit: Dog Wheelchair Malaysia

 

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