METHUEN — Echo wheeled around in a circle before making her move, the promise of a doggy treat too enticing to ignore.
Timid at first in her custom-fit cart, the two-legged Chihuahua was soon rolling across the room with her siblings. It was a reunion of sorts, and a big day for the underdog.
"Now she can keep up with our other Chihuahua," said Laura Mehigan of Tewksbury, who adopted Echo from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm two months ago.
Initially named Kensi, Hetty and G after characters on the television show "NCIS," Methuen's famous pups now have new names, new homes and a new way to get around.
Yesterday, Echo, Ellie and Gulliver — the runt of the trio — were each fitted with customized wheeled carts by Eddie's Wheels, a manufacturer from Shelburne Falls. The carts feature off-road wheels angled for enhanced stability and maneuverability.
All three dogs were born without front legs. They were dropped off at the MSPCA in February after their owner died. Each was adopted by individual families soon after The Eagle-Tribune wrote about their inspiring story.
Mike Keiley, director of the Noble Family Animal Care and Adoption Center at the MSPCA, said it should take only a short time for the dogs to adjust to their new devices.
"They'll build that muscle and they'll build that confidence, and with training and support they'll be great," Keiley said.
He said the dogs were 9 weeks old when they came to the MSPCA.
"It became very clear that these dogs did not notice they have a disability," Keiley said. "They were trying to be as mobile as they could and had a great spirit for life."
The dogs have no problem hopping around on their hind legs without the carts, but their mobility will be enhanced greatly with the carts, Keiley said.
Ella Holst and her husband came all the way from Eastham on Cape Cod to adopt Gulliver. They returned to Methuen yesterday so Gulliver could be fitted for his new ride.
"He's a little resistant to the cart, because he does so well without it," Ella Holst said. "We want to be able to take him on walks and to the dog park. We'll just work with him until he gets it."
Holst said her family already owns two disabled cats and a disabled dog.
"I think we're just always drawn to the underdog," she said. "We just go to the ones we think might need a little more love."
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