We’ve all seen wheelchairs and braces for dogs with mobility issues, but few of us have ever seen a dog with a prosthetic limb. In Sterling, Virginia, orthotist Derrick Campana creates prosthetics for animals, but he doesn’t just limit himself to the small, domestic varieties. Campana also works on appliances for more challenging creatures, including camels, eagles, rams, owls, and even elephants!
“I turn injured animals into bionic animals.”
Although Campana trained as a orthotist for humans, in 2005, a vet brought in a Chocolate Lab named Charles who was missing a limb. Campana’s boss typically took the clinic’s rare animal clients, but since he’d quit his job that day, Campana was pressed into service to look after the dog. After his success with Charles, word spread, and Campana’s animal client roster filled up quickly. The cases that really convinced him to focus on animal work were the abused pets, who helped him to realize he’d found his calling.
Campana is a great guy, but not a great speaker. Below is maybe the least professional Ted speech I’ve ever seen, but his message, though delivered poorly, is still a beautiful one. Listen to Campana talk about some of the animals he’s worked with and how much it has meant to him.
One of only six animal orthotic companies in the world, Campana is acutely aware that not everyone can afford his services. So he also gives back by providing low-cost products to non-profit organizations helping animals in need.