Bella View Farm Animal Sanctuary
Lemu the emu is stretching his legs freely for the first time in his life.
According to a release from pet mobility company Walkin' Pets, a two-month-old emu was rescued from a farm in Wisconsin, where the animal was found living in a tote bag with a slipped tendon.
A slipped tendon is an orthopedic condition that can affect mobility and is often the result of "nutritional deficiencies," per PoultryDVM.
Because the baby emu, later named Lemu, was kept in poor conditions and didn't receive care for his slipped tendon at his former home, the bird had trouble moving when he arrived at his new abode.
Bella View Farm Animal Sanctuary (BVAS) — a North Carolina nonprofit dedicated to caring for animals with special needs — rescued Lemu and, with help from their supporters, safely transported the young animal from Wisconsin to Franklin, North Carolina.
Once Lemu reached BVAS, he started working on his recovery. The sanctuary's founder, Rhonda Farrell, who was already caring for seven goat wheelchair users, knew what the emu needed.
Farrell reached out to Walkin' Pets about getting a custom wheelchair made for the bird to help with his slipped tendon rehab. In response, Walkin' Pets crafted their first custom emu wheelchair for Lemu.
The animal took to the wheelchair much quicker than Farrell expected. BVAS thought Lemu would try taking a few steps once he got in the wheelchair; instead, he took off running.
Lemu hasn't slowed down since. The wheelchair has helped him gain mobility, confidence, and independence.
"The wheels help stimulate him and prevent him from getting depressed," Farrell shared in a statement.
To help BVAS care for and celebrate animals with special needs, visit the nonprofit's website, where you can donate and learn more about the sanctuary's work.