Ella, the mini donkey that could!
How a woman’s love of animals gave Ella the mini donkey leg braces and a fresh start!
Angela Boncz, the CEO and lead fabricator at Specialized Pet Solutions, got her start building custom animal orthotics and prosthetics when she adopted several special needs animals that required her very particular set of skills as an O&P technician. One of her first cases was building dog knee brace otherwise known as a stifle brace for her dog Leona, who had a CCL/ACL tear. Using the custom dog brace, she managed to heal Leona without the high cost of surgery. Angela then adopted Prince the three-legged pony that she built a new prosthetic for, and he thrived. Inspired by this work, soon she was building orthotics and prosthetics for other people’s animals. Today, Angela has over 20 on her special needs animal farm in Eastern Washington. However, there is one of her animals that holds a very special place in her heart: her mini donkey- Baby Noella AKA “Ella”.
Ella was born with severe hyperextension at her carpal joint, and she had an extremely difficult time walking. She was so small and so feisty that Angela knew from the moment she laid eyes on her that they would be together, and she would be her mom. Angela drove eight hours to pick her up and at the time did not own a horse trailer, so baby Ella rode shotgun in the front seat of Angela’s pickup truck all the way home, three states away.
Angela went to work right away building Ella a set of hard-shell braces customized to her legs and deformity. As Ella grew, so did the braces and Ella’s legs started to gain strength. She was able to walk with her braces in a more normal gait, allowing the muscles to build up around the carpal joint. Her gait is about 95% corrected with the use of serial bracing over the last few years. She has now graduated to soft splints that just add a little extra protection. Ella remains spunky and sassy and only likes “her people”. She loves to run, and buck, and she’s really good at being a diva. But above all other things she really loves her ball. She kicks it, tosses it in the air, catches it, and wrestles it. Baby Ella is now 4 years old and spends her days on Angela’s rescue ranch playing with her brother Prince, chasing after the other animals on the farm if they get in her space.
The story of Baby Ella is a story of hope, inspiration, love, and commitment. Angela has committed her life to helping animals in need both personally and professionally. She uses the same quality materials and the same techniques used for human orthotics and prosthetics and does it for special needs animals all over the United States and Canada. The mission of Specialized Pet Solutions is clear: Help animals live their best life!
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