Keating the dog helps limb loss patients

Published: Dec. 20, 2019 at 7:18 PM EST
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Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics in Belpre, Ohio has a very special employee. He’s small and hairy, and his name is Keating. A Greyhound-Boxer mix, Keating was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee without a front right paw.

“There was an email that came out from a prosthetist that was helping the shelter down there and wanted to find another prosthetist who was willing to make legs for this puppy as he grew,” said Nancy Miller, Keating’s owner.

As he grew, the Miller’s trained Keating to become a therapy dog. He even helps out around Miller’s Prosthetics and Orthotics.

“He comes in, greets you, puts you at ease, makes you feel good. Course, he’s got a prosthesis too you know. It’s great to have the dog around,” said Ken Bailey, a limb loss patient.

Keating doesn’t just help out patients, he’s giving the Miller’s an opportunity to learn more about their field. And though Nancy’s husband Mark is the certified prosthetist, Nancy is working to keep the company high tech.

“Ever since we adopted a dog, we wanted to stay high tech, I wanted to 3D print a leg for him. It’s been my goal for a few years,” said Miller.

Though she was unsuccessful for a few years, Miller reached out to West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where she found some help.

Logan Mace is the coordinator of WVUP’s maker space. He has been helping Miller learn more about 3D printing.

“So Nancy came to our grand opening here, that’s how we met initially. And from then she kind of got back on this idea of wanting to 3D print her dog’s leg,” said Mace. “So what I did, was I helped take a sketch that she brought in, turn it into a 3D model, and then get everything from the actual model itself to the alignment to the finished 3d printed product.”

Now that Keating has his 3D printed leg, the Millers have continued to work with WVUP and a friend in Tulsa, Oklahoma on other prosthetics. They’re hoping to start making foot orthotics from their own 3D printer.

“[It’s] a shape that we can actually print on this printer. So, we’ve had help from WVUP and my friend Rick in Tulsa. And now I was able to print this leg and the flexible liner here on this printer,” said Miller, pointing to her 3D printer.

Along with the Millers’ work in prosthetics and orthotics, Keating is continuing his work as a therapy dog.