VICTORVILLE:(VVNG.com)- A local young man just helped make the life of his girlfriend’s “fur baby” a little more comfortable. “Benny,” short for Benito, is a 3-year-old Pomeranian/Poodle mix who recently started experiencing some health issues. That’s when James Paniagua stepped in to help.
James Stewart Paniagua is a 22-year-old talented and creative individual who lives in Barstow. James frequently visits his girlfriend, Briana Ibarra, who lives with her family in Victorville. “I see him (Benny) on a daily basis so I’ve grown attached to him.”
“A couple of days ago Benny started acting very weird and skittish. The following morning he woke up dragging his hind legs. This scared everyone and my girlfriends mom ended up taking him to the animal hospital. They informed her that the surgery would cost beyond $8,000 dollars,” according to James.
Upon finding out the amount of money needed for the surgery, the family was heartbroken. “It was just too much money to even consider it,” stated James. The veterinarians told the family Benito should be fine without the surgery, however, his quality of life wouldn’t be the same and they would need to provide constant care for Benny.
“A day passed by and I was just thinking about ways to make his life a little better. I decided to look some wheelchairs up whose prices grazed the $1,000 dollar mark.”
James’ creativeness and sharp thinking kicked in and what he did next is nothing short of amazing and inspiring.
“I needed a doggie wheelchair pretty bad and didn’t have the funds to shell out thousands of dollars. So I took a trip to Lowe’s and made one myself! A little elbow grease and patience goes a long way.”
James says he’s always been the type of kid to take things apart to build new things. “I truly enjoy finding new ways to make life a little easier and fun.”
James spent about $40 and he not only invented but created a custom wheelchair made out of PVC pipes for Benny. “I had a ton of trouble finding wheels and ended up just buying a $20 scooter from Wal-Mart and salvaging the wheels. $5 dollars on Velcro straps, less than $5 on nuts and bolts and close to 8 dollars on PVC pipes, joints, and PVC cement.”
In the video, James shared with Victor Valley News you can see Benny exploring his new-found mobility.