Basil, who lost his back legs after he was found on a Chinese street, was scared and timid when he was first adopted. Now he's a happy lil' guy who loves a good zoomie.

Sarah Koslicki knew she was going to fail almost immediately. It dawned on her when Basil, the small, two-legged dog she'd decided to foster, first got into her car last year. It was pretty much game over. 

"I knew it was gonna happen, too," the Toronto resident tells Daily Paws. "The minute he got into my car, I was like, 'Oh, this is it. He's not coming back to the shelter.'"

That's right. It's the good kind of failure—a foster fail, when a person initially agrees to temporarily serve as a pet's foster parent only to decide later to adopt the pet outright. It's exactly what Basil needed after an unimaginable beginning to his life. 

Since Koslicki first took in Basil in April 2020 (and adopted him five months later), the little guy has transformed from a scared, timid pup into a vibrant, happy dog who loves attention, cheese and hot dog treats, and zoomies, which actually don't necessitate back legs

"It's the most rewarding experience I've ever done," Koslicki says. "I wouldn't change a second of it."

Basil in his wheelchair
Credit: Courtesy of wheelpuppy / Instagram

Basil's Journey

Basil, who's about 4 years old, probably wouldn't be enjoying his new life in Canada without the help of several organizations and their volunteers and staff. His story begins in China, where a group from Furry Angels Haven Wuhan found Basil on a street. His back legs were badly damaged, so veterinarians had to amputate everything below his pelvis, Koslicki was told. 

It's unknown how his legs had been so badly broken, whether he was hit by a car or something else, but Basil was not doing well in his shelter after the operation. That's when someone decided he should go to Toronto, which meant a 12-hour train ride to an airport alone before the long flight to Canada from China with a human he didn't know.  

"I can't even imagine all the things that he saw and all the things he's been through, and it breaks my heart, to be honest, when I sit and think about it," Koslicki says. 

Basil eventually arrived at Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary in Toronto, where he caught Koslicki's eye. She'd helped the rescue organization with an event previously and had followed their work since then. As the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dog Tales was in need of fosters, and she'd been thinking about adopting a special needs pup. Fostering seemed like a good opportunity for her to learn.

Then Basil got into her car, and the whole fostering idea went out the window. 

King of Zoomies

The first several weeks with Basil were hard for Koslicki. She wondered if she could keep up with his needs, but she eventually settled into a routine. That's part of her advice for anyone who's planning to adopt a special needs pet: Be patient, get into a routine, and be an advocate.  

Special-needs pets are more than an adorable wheelchair pup on Instagram—though Basil certainly is one of those cuties. They need a lot of help. Koslicki, for example, has to change Basil's diaper every two hours because he can't control when he goes to the bathroom. That means applying antiseptic, diaper cream, and powder along with every new diaper. 

Then there's his twice-a-day antibiotics, daily baths, monthly veterinarian visits and grooming sessions, and constantly being on the lookout for dangerous urinary tract infections. It costs plenty of time, effort, and money. But Koslicki says it's all worth it for Basil. 

When she first brought him home, he was afraid of other dogs and untrusting of humans. But as Koslicki began caring for him, he ventured out of his shell. Now he has friends at the park to play with—and who Koslicki credits with teaching Basil how to be a dog. 

"He's just blossomed into this happy little dog," she says. 

And, boy, can he run. He likes to chase, be chased, and fetch. He goes so hard he can't even use his wheelchair when the zoomies strike. He'll end up spinning out and having to wait for Koslicki to come unbuckle him. Instead, he slips into his Walkin' Drag Bag, which allows him to hustle around without fear of losing his diaper:

He's even evolved into demanding attention from his owner (as every dog should). It's all a complete reversal from his traumatic early life, impossible without the organizations and people, namely Koslicki, who helped him along the way. 

"He's a completely different dog," Koslicki says. "He's just so happy."

If you'd like to follow Basil and Koslicki's adventures together (and let's face it, with a pooch as happy as this one, who wouldn't?!), you can find them on Instagram via @wheelpuppy.