Peg leg pooch inspires children with disabilities

2013-07-16 00:00

FOUR-MONTH-OLD Jack Russell that was left with a broken paw next to a Cape highway, now takes part in motivational talks at school, walking proudly on a prosthetic leg that was specially made for him.

Boston Riley was only a puppy of a few weeks old when he was found next to the M5, near Tokai in the Western Cape. Sharyn McNeil and her husband, Lance, from Hillcrest, Durban, decided to take him home because they already had two other Jack Russell dogs.

Lance said after the broken paw had been amputated, the puppy struggled to walk and they pushed him around in a doll’s pram.

One of Sharyn’s friends then suggested a prosthetic leg and Brian McKibbin, who makes prosthetic limbs for humans, offered to make a leg for Boston Riley.

It took about two months for the leg to be fitted and during this time Boston Riley tried his best to start walking on his own.

It was the dog’s determination to walk that inspired Lance to take Boston Riley to schools in KwaZulu-Natal, to inspire children, especially ones with disabilities.

Lance said the dog now walks without his prosthetic and climbs stairs, showing children that disability is not a stumbling block.

“The children are crazy about him. He inspires children with physical and mental disabilities. Even children with learning problems can learn a lot from him.”

Boston Riley has visited eight schools in the past month and Lance said he gets lots of letters from the children. In one of the letters, Ethan wrote that Riley had encouraged him to help animals when he grows up.

Boston Riley got his name because he was found a week after the bomb explosions at the Boston marathon. Lance said a lot of people had also lost limbs in the explosions.

Sharyn said they decided on the “Riley” part because it sounded like “Ryan”, her late son’s name. She said Riley also meant “brave” and “heroic”, which perfectly described her dog.

The dog is an ambassador for animal welfare at Pet Rescue Pinetown. The McNeils have started the Boston Riley Pays It Forward Facebook page, where animal lovers can adopt animals and share information.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.