CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A pet is part of your family just as much as a human. Just ask Charlette, a calf born in Charlotte.
Since birth, Charlette hasn't been able to live a normal life, because of a bum leg. But a small favor gave the little cow a new leg to stand on.
Charlette was born on the Fullerton Family Farm on Christmas day. But Sonny Grendel and her family noticed she was having a really hard time walking on her left hind leg.
"We tried therapy. We tried building actual splints for her, but nothing seemed to really make a difference," Grendel said.
Her leg had to be amputated below the knee. Their veterinarian said Charlette didn't have much time left.
"Because calves grow so rapidly, her weight distribution through her hind legs was getting so heavy that unfortunately, eventually her hips were going to give out and there was no way that she would actually walk."
But Grendel didn't want to give up on their new family member.
And little did she know, the miracle she looking for was just a phone call away.
Grendel called her friend, Jay Miller, a prosthetist, who made Charlette a custom prosthetic leg.
"This is the first time I've strayed off the path of humans," he said. "I always thought it would be kind of neat to help save an animal or help make a limb for an animal."
The project took a few weekends to complete and took some thinking outside the box.
"The first weekend I came out and took measurements and took a cast to create a negative impression of the limb. A different weekend, I was able to take it back into the lab and pour the mold to make a positive model to modify that and make a socket and leg portion of it from there," Miller said.
He also took concepts from a human below the knee, above the knee, and above the elbow limb design.
The prosthetic ended up fitting really well.
"It was almost like it had never been missing which was really cool, really rewarding," Miller said.
Charlette's now able to run and go outside and visit the other calves.
"I can't thank him enough from the bottom of my heart and he's given Charlette a second chance," Grendel said.
As Charlette grows bigger, she will have to have new prosthetics made for her. But now that Miller has had some practice, he said he's happy to make them for her.
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