Derby the Dog Can Now Run Free Thanks to His New 3-D Printed Legs

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It doesn't get much more heartwarming than this: Thanks to 3-D printing technology, a dog can now play with his friends.

Derby was born with deformed front legs that prevented him from walking. When his original owner could no longer take care of him, he was taken in by Peace and Paws dog rescue. That's when Derby struck gold: Tara Anderson had read about Derby's story, and agreed to foster him.

Anderson ended up doing a lot more than that for the pup. An employee at 3-D printing company 3D Systems, she first tried to increase his quality of life by harnessing him to a wheeled-cart. It worked pretty well, but still "limited his mobility in terms of being able to play with other dogs," she explains in a video. "It's not really the full motion of running."

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And so Anderson got her colleagues involved. Along with Derrick Campana, an animal orthotist, two of 3D Systems' employees scanned Derby’s legs and designed Derby-sized cradles and blades.

"The great thing about using 3D technology in Derby's case is having these images on file on a computer and being able to print them is a lot quicker than having to hand-sculpt every mold and rebuild these braces five, 10 times," Campana says in the video.

By this point, Derby had found permanent parents in Dom and Sherry Portanova, and his new prosthetics were shipped to the couple.

He adapted to the robotic legs right away. "The first time he was put on them, he took off running. He was just so happy," Sherri says in the video. "I was absolutely amazed at how well he did."

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Now, Derby goes on a daily run with the Portanovas, and plays with the other dogs in the neighborhood, both things he could never do before Anderson came into his life.

Watch him in action in the video below.