OSSEO, Wis. — A pup named Kona can now go out and enjoy the Montana snow thanks to his new set of wheels - and skis.
Kona's freedom is all thanks to a non-profit called Gunnar's Wheels - an organization that has given 1,000 carts and wheelchairs to animals in need.
Jason Parker, from Osseo, WI, discovered his passion when his dog, Gunnar, was hit by a car in 2014. Gunnar's injuries left him unable to walk and with a mountain of vet bills, Jason couldn't afford to buy him a wheelchair.
When friends and family stepped in to help, Jason realized that he most likely wasn't the only pet-lover experiencing this struggle.
So, in August of 2016, the Gunnar's Wheels Foundation was born. Jason made it his mission to provide custom wheelchairs and carts for animals in need - at no cost to the owner.
The concept is that each animal will have their wheels until it no longer needs them, or the animal passes away. Then, the cart will be shipped back for an inspection and a touch-up before it is sent to the next animal in need.
According to the "Gunnar's wheels" Facebook page, Jason and his family work with manufacturers to get parts and even full carts at a discount. He coordinates with the pet owner to get the right measurements, ensuring a perfect fit.
On average, each cart costs $125 to $700 to build and customize. The more expensive, specialty carts include 4-wheeled carts, front-wheeled carts, and amputee carts.
Gunnar's Wheels relies heavily on donations. Their GoFundMe page, started in 2016, has raised over $130,000 so far.
If you'd like to learn more or donate to Gunnar's Wheels, you may do so here.