Hot Wheels is ready to roll

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn spends some time with “Hotwheels” as the dog takes a break from running around in his wheeled cart at the Humane Society of Marion County in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. The dog was brought into the Humane Society with a broken back by someone on March 30. He doesn’t have any use of his back legs, nor does he have any control of his bodily functions, but the staff came up with the idea of giving him the wheelchair so that he can still run around and have fun. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted June 3, 2021 | By Ainslie Lee,

Those who know Hot Wheels best anxiously watched the pooch interact with Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who on June 2 visited the pup that was left paralyzed by suspected abuse.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, left, talks with Eddie Leedy, the executive director of the Humane Society of Marion County, as they spend some time with Hot Wheels. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Guinn was there to issue a Mayor’s Recognition commending Hot Wheels for his determination, resilience and positive attitude.

But as of late, the seven-month-old puppy has been a lot to handle, leaving those at the Humane Society of Marion County worried the dog would commit a faux pas.

“His name should be Hell on Wheels, not Hot Wheels,” said Eddie Leedy, executive director of the Humane Society.

But whether it was Guinn’s cuff links or polished dress shoes, something must’ve told Hot Wheels, who wore a blue necktie for the occasion, to be on his best behavior. Humane Society volunteers watched in wonder as the canine took to Guinn like a pig to mud.

On March 30, Hot Wheels was found on the side of the road, covered by a blanket and unable to walk.

Veterinarians and staff suspect the dog was struck with a baseball bat or a similar object, leaving him paralyzed.

“If he was hit by a car or something like that, I think we would’ve seen more scratches… he had no scratches or blood or nothing,” said Dr. Jami McGregor, the Humane Society’s shelter veterinarian. “So, I think someone hit him and dumped him.”

Hot Wheels was left with a crushed vertebra and has limited use of his hind legs.

Despite the injury, Hot Wheels hasn’t slowed down. If anything, he’s gotten faster thanks to a special wheelchair.

The Labrador retriever mix uses the wheelchair to sprint out the shelter door, bumping into anything in his path.

“He is improving,” McGregor said. “He’s kind of slowed his improvement these last couple of weeks, but he has been improving… He wants to use those feet, and occasionally he’ll put them down, but he just can’t put weight on them. It’s just kind of a wait-and-see kind of thing.”

After more than two months at the shelter, Hot Wheels is ready to roll out of the doors for good and find a suitable home.

“It would most likely be someone who has the time for him,” Leedy said. “I won’t say he requires around-the-clock attention, but he’s incontinent, so he wears diapers. So, someone would have to be there to constantly clean up behind him when needed. And also to keep him out of trouble. Because at the end of the day, he’s still a puppy.”

According to Leedy, a foster situation is preferred for Hot Wheels. Fostering allows the Humane Society to retain ownership of Hot Wheels and financially provide for any future medical needs.

Anyone interested in adopting or fostering Hot Wheels is encouraged to contact the Humane Society.

“I just love dogs. So, when I had the chance to do this, I jumped at the opportunity,” Guinn said. “We want to recognize him. We want to find a good home for him.”

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