Friday Future Lister: Creating a New World for Disabled Animals with Dr. Warangkhana "Aon" Phanwanich

How Dr. Aon’s Wheelchair for Pets has changed the lives of 1,500 disabled dogs, making mobility miracles possible.

When we think about disabled individuals, many organisations offer support and resources to help improve quality of life. But when it comes to disabled animals, the options are more limited. It's challenging to imagine services like wheelchairs specifically designed for pets. Yet, there are people who see this need and act on it.

For this week’s Friday Future List, Koktail highlights the inspiring work of Dr. Warangkhana "Aon" Phanwanich. Dr. Aon, a graduate of Kasetsart University's veterinary program, currently serves as the Hospital Director at iVET Animal Hospital.

She has dedicated her career to improving animal welfare, particularly focusing on disabled pets. Dr. Aon is the founder of Wheelchair for Pets, an initiative that has enhanced the quality of life for many disabled dogs.

The Birth of an Idea

About a decade ago, Dr. Aon was working as a veterinarian at an animal hospital. Her routine changed when a woman brought in her disabled dog, a pet that could barely support itself with its front legs. The dog often had to lie down, leading to pressure sores. The dog's owner, caring and considering the dog as part of her family, asked Dr. Aon if she could help make the dog's life happier.

This moment was paramount for Dr. Aon. She recommended using a wheelchair for the dog but realised that such devices were not readily available or affordable ten years ago. The inaccessibility of wheelchairs and prosthetics for pets sparked a desire in Dr. Aon to create a solution. She understood that as veterinarians, they were positioned to know what animals need and what equipment would suit them best.

Transition to Innovation

Driven by compassion and a commitment to help, she decided to explore the field of biomedical engineering. This transition allowed her to focus on developing technologies for pets, particularly wheelchairs for disabled animals.

Initially, funding was a significant challenge, but support from the Prof Dr. Chak Pichaironarongsongkram Foundation was instrumental in getting the initiative off the ground.

Impact and Growth

Since its inception, Wheelchair for Pets has distributed over 1,500 wheelchairs to disabled dogs. The organisation also conducts wheelchair exercise sessions and monthly camps to train volunteers in assisting cats with disabilities.

Under Dr. Warangkhana's leadership, Wheelchair for Pets has grown into a strong network of over 100 active members, including volunteers and mentors.

Fundraising and Sustainability

To ensure the continuous production of wheelchairs and the sustainability of their efforts, Wheelchair for Pets organises "RUN FOR WHEEL" events. These events are crucial for fundraising and help maintain the initiative’s momentum. The support from the community and volunteers plays a significant role in the success of these events.

Through Wheelchair for Pets, Dr. Aon inspired a community to come together and support this cause. Her journey has led to advancements in pet mobility, making a positive move for the lives of disabled animals and their owners.