Willybelonged to the multitude of homeless and abandoned animals, labeled "unwanted". Discarded in a cardboard box, paralyzed and with his vocal cords severed, this tiny Chihuahua lived at an animal hospital waiting for someone to take him home. The story of Willy's plight touched pet store owner Deborah Turner, who brought him home to her menagerie of rescued pets. She tried a comical array of methods to help Willy become mobile before they received his K9 Cart.
Wheely Willy's set of wheels changed both Deborah's and Willy's lives. His mobility brought him an incredible energy and joy. He blossomed with his newfound freedom, which is chronicled in the children's book, "How Willy Got His Wheels", by Deborah Turner and Diana Mohler. The book was honored with the 1998 Maxwell Award for Children's Literature, and was nominated for a Caldecott Award for it's illustrations.
Deborah and Willy together visit hospitals, schools, and convalescent homes to bring cheer and hope where it is needed. Willy, indeed, has become a symbol of hope…he has even led a group of young people with spinal cord injuries in the LA Marathon.
Wheely Willy has made numerous television appearances, some on talk shows such as Leeza, and Mike and Maty. He regularly appears on Discovery Channel's "Animal Planet". He has been on National Geographic, Nickelodeon, America's Greatest Pets, Fox News, CNN, E-Entertainment, and other shows and news programs around the nation. Willy has been the subject of many articles in both newspapers and magazines. Recently published books featuring Willy include "Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul", and the newly released "Working Dogs, Tales from Animal Planet's K9 to 5".
Willy charms both children and adults with his "I Can" attitude. His example of living life with courage, exuberance, and zest is the best lesson he teaches.