A disabled raccoon named Boone is able to scurry anywhere he wants for the first time, thanks to engineering students at Central Hardin High School in Kentucky.
The raccoon arrived at Nolin River Wildlife Sanctuary located in Glendale when he was two weeks old. He could not walk, so the organization that rehabilitates and releases animals back into the wild was the right place for him, WLKY reported Tuesday.
According to the sanctuary’s executive director, Mary Key, Boone was diagnosed with a neurological issue known as cerebellar hypoplasia that caused him to “wobble and fall over,” she noted.
Because of his condition, staff members and volunteers carried him in a sling, which gave Key the idea to find him a wheelchair. However, the chairs cost around $500.
Key later decided to contact the engineering students at Central Hardin and asked them to use their talents in building the raccoon a wheelchair.
Once the students made several prototypes, they came up with one featuring a sling, tubing, and wheels that allowed Boone to get around all by himself.
In a Facebook post on March 18, the sanctuary shared a photo of the raccoon enjoying his walker and thanked the students for their efforts.
“We are so grateful for their kindness and thoughtfulness. Boone absolutely loved it! He ran around for about an hour and was so wore out he slept the entire way home!” the post read:
We want to give a huge THANK YOU to Mr. Pike’s class at Central Hardin High School. They created a wheelchair for Boone…
Key told WLKY before the raccoon had the wheelchair, he would “paddle and roll place to place.”
“But he gets in that wheelchair and not only is he enjoying it and loving and getting around in it, but he’s getting stronger and able to do more, even when he’s not in the wheelchair now,” she noted.
The executive director said Boone’s story highlights the sanctuary’s mission.
“To me, it’s not about saving every animal it’s about having people fall in love with these animals and understanding their importance, and that’s the thing with Boone—he’s made the biggest impact,” Key concluded.