A foster dog who loves to run but has severely injured hind legs is finding her options limited after her wheelchair was stolen from her caretaker's vehicle last week in San Pedro.
Violet, a Cocker Spaniel mix believed to be around 10 years old, has to undergo ongoing treatment and physical therapy for a spinal cord injury that left her unable to use her lower body, foster mom Nami Sugiyama said.
Once she gets into her custom-made wheelchair, you can't hold her back. But without it, she struggles.
"She has a routine," Sugiyama said. "In the morning, she gets in the cart and she likes to chase bunnies and squirrels."
But that changed last Wednesday morning, when Sugiyama and her husband discovered their cars were stolen from the underground parking lot in their apartment complex near Eighth and Mesa streets.
Sugiyama says police found the cars later that same evening, but they were cleaned out.
"Everything was gone," she told KTLA, including other special gear for Violet like booties and a stroller. "Maybe they didn’t know what it is and they just took it anyway."
Los Angeles police Sgt. Andrew Hudlett confirmed a report had been filed but declined to comment further on the investigation. According to Sugiyama, the thieves were captured on surveillance video.
Violet hasn't been the same since she lost her mobility, her caretaker said.
"She's very anxious right now," Sugiyama told KTLA. "I think she knows something's up, and her routine is not there anymore, so she's very sad."
Violent was found severely injured in the street and brought into the L.A. County shelter in Baldwin Park in January 2017. It's unknown exactly what happened to her before that.
She has the same needs as a disabled dog but has made improvement, and her muscles are no longer completely atrophied, according to Camp Cocker, the group that helped rescue her.
The nonprofit has been fielding donations and says it's already raised enough to order a new wheelchair for Violet. But the process could take weeks, and Sugiyama hopes the original can be found so Violet can get back to doing what she loves as soon as possible.
"It's been very difficult for us, and especially for her," Sugiyama said.
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I’m a bit sad and confused because I haven’t been able to do my bunny patrol with my wheelchair 😿🐾 but I believe there is always a rainbow after every storm 🐾🌸🐾 I have been working on my stair exercises to keep my muscle strong till getting back on my wheelchair 👍👍 I would like to thank all my fans who purchased my calendars or note pads, donated money or supplies, who has been checking Craig’s lists, who contacted to the local LA TV station for me, who sent me lots of comments of encouragement ❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏 . . #greatful #teamviolet