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One Deputy’s Dream of Helping Special Needs Pets Comes True

Paralyzed French Bull Dog Cooper loves his Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair
Cooper the Frenchie loves his Walkin’ Wheels.

John Cox, a retired Deputy in Sarasota, FL, began his journey helping special needs animals just a year ago, and has already changed the lives of 68 animals!

There are two things that these animals have in common – one being mobility issues, and the other being mobility solutions. Without the help of John, his team, and all their fundraising efforts, the latter wouldn’t be made possible.

Within his first year, John and his charity Ruck9 have donated wheelchairs to 68 animals, the number of animals helped so far, includes:

  • 64 dogs
  • 3 cats
  • 1 goat

With many more animals to come!

How does it work?

Owners approach John and his Foundation in dire need of help for their furry loved ones, and with no questions asked, John agrees to support them in any way, shape, or form he can.

Whether it is an older dog with arthritis or a young puppy with an amputated limb, John has a mobility solution for them. Ruck9 partners with Walkin’ Pets, a mobility device company for pets that helps these special needs animals get fitted to their rear or fully supportive Walkin’ Wheels wheelchairs.

Ruck9 Changes Lives Forever

Dog parents love their rescued wheelchair dog
Mattie Mae and her adopted parents.

Don Jackson, the adoptive owner of Mattie Mae (a wheelie warrior veteran), says, “John came down and gave her a Walkin’ Wheels cart. This cart has made this animal a dog, a normal dog. She is just like any other dog. She has no idea what legs are; somebody forgot to tell her she had them.”

Not only do these devices offer up the chance for these pets to live independently, but they also rescue them from euthanasia, undergoing extensive/risky surgeries, and help those without homes become more adoptable – therefore helping them find their forever homes . . . A win-win!

Many people are forever grateful to have crossed paths with John Cox, including Michelle Sampson, the Founder of Gimme Shelter Pet Adoption. Sampson rescued Rue, a disabled pup, from a high-kill shelter just an hour before her scheduled euthanization. With John’s help, Rue is now set up in a fully supportive wheelchair, where she can run around and spend time with her forever family. 

Disabled dog Rue lives her best life in Walkin' Wheels dog wheelchair
Rue lives her best life in her Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair.

Sampson says, “She had had a stroke and had no use of her front legs, and of course, she is not adoptable like that. Somebody put me in touch with Ruck9, and when we got her the cart, she started thriving and getting around. She’s a manic; you can’t keep this dog down! Handicapped? There is no handicapped here! She is a wheelie warrior. I am so grateful for Walkin’ Pets and John Cox. It takes a village; no one can do this alone.”

This is Just the Beginning

Ruck9 regularly hosts events to fundraise. This money helps purchase equipment, such as wheelchairs, for these animals so that they can be mobile again. Recently, Ruck9 held a 5K event in Sarasota, FL, called the “Sup & Run”. The event featured over 1,000 participants joined together for a great cause. The money raised, gives John the ability to help dozens more animals get the second chance they deserve and give the owners peace of mind that their pets will be taken care of.

Cox says, “Our mission is to help as many animals as possible, get wheelchairs and help them feel like they are the animal they are supposed to be. All proceeds are just going to be able to put more and more wheelies on our ‘wheelie warriors.’”

From rescue to outreach, networking, and opportunity – these pets can see another day. With the help of the pet-loving community, anything is possible.

To learn more about Ruck9 or to donate, please visit their website

Read more of John and Ruck9 in the story featured on

One comment

  1. Walkin’ Wheels worked great for our dog, but with his paralysis spreading, he only used them for a month or so. Would like to donate to a dog in need. How do I go about this? Thanks. Gloria

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