A disabled dog born with three legs has had his life changed for good after being fitted with a pair of new wheels.
Hector, aged five, was born with no bones in his front left leg which prevented him from being able to go on walks.
The beagle was taken in by Victoria Haddon, her husband James and three children, Ellie, 20, Max, 18, and Freddie, 15, at 12 weeks old after the breeder couldn’t find a home for the pup.
The Haddon family already had one beagle Reggie, aged nine, but thought Hector would be a “lovely” addition to the family – despite him having difficulties walking.
Victoria Haddon, 51, said: “We had him as a baby, and he was part of a litter of five, but the only one who was disabled.
“Hector’s leg developed like that in the womb so he knows no different – he would just run about and hop out.
“We weren’t looking for another dog but once the image of this poor little puppy was in our heads – we just thought since we already had Reggie he would be a lovely addition.”
But when Victoria would take him out on walks, she noticed Hector’s other legs were taking all the strain.
This would often end up in Victoria having to carry Hector for the rest of the walk.
As Hector grew older and grew more in size, it became harder for the family to take him on walks because he got too heavy to be carried when he was tired.
The mum-of-three, of Norwich, Norfolk said Hector would tend to struggle to keep up with his older brother Reggie.
She adds: “As he became fully grown he was struggling more and more and we thought we had to find a solution for him.
“We tried a harness and would have the lead but that was still quite difficult for him – he likes running on the lead.
“And he was fully grown at about the age of one.”
Victoria said they even tried to use an old buggy the family found in their house.
She adds: “When we used to put him in the buggy he wasn’t getting the stimulation he needed and being able to sniff the grass.
“But then we saw a dog wheel chair maker in America and realised doggy wheel chairs exist.
“It is a company that specialises in dogs who have missing or disabled front legs – so we thought it was perfect”
Hector’s wheelchair, which cost £600 has allowed him to complete his adventures along with his brother Reggie.
Victoria said: “We done lots of training when we first put him in it because he just stood there and just had no idea what we were trying to do with him.
“He looked like he was thinking what on earth were we putting him in this contraction for – but then we had a break through with these warm sausages.
“He propelled himself forward and gave himself a bit of a shock that he had managed to work out how to use the wheelchair.
“It took a while for him to get used to it as he would get stuck on the tree roots with the wheels.
“But now he can go full speed and he knows how to work it – including doing his business (go to the toilet).”
And now inspired by Hector, Victoria decided to write a book which tells the story of how a beagle joined the family and the wonderful impact he has had.
The book is dedicated “To the dog-walkers of Norwich, without whom Hector almost certainly would have met an unhappy end.”
Victoria, who works from home promoting the wine trade, said: “I wrote the book due to a combination of people being fascinated when they see him in the street.
“The traffic would honestly stop, because people love animals – and everybody wanted to know his story – because he definitely lives a good life.
“Everything in the book is completely true.”
Hector’s Wheels is aimed at children from around nine-years-old and includes a series of charming pictures of Hector and Reggie, painted by Sophia Fletcher of Norwich.
Hector’s Wheels, by Victoria Haddon, illustrated by Sophia Fletcher, is published by Matador, price £7.99, and available from local bookshops.
Hector, Reggie and Victoria will be doing a book signing on Saturday 20 October at 11am at the Jarrolds book department, in Norfolk.