Paralysed dog Zippy can play again thanks to custom roller-skates

Four months ago, therapy dog Zippy jumped off the sofa, slipped a disc in his back, and lost use of his back legs.

Within three hours of the freak accident, the cockapoo was paralysed in his back legs.

Now, finally, the dog is back on his feet thanks to a spinal operation, multiple therapies, and a pair of custom-made rolls skates that cost £94.

Zippy can run around and play, and the motion of zooming around on skates may help him walk unaided in the future, allowing him to exercise and stimulate the nerves.

His owners, Jean, 63, and Terry Stork, 74, from King’s Lynn, are overjoyed to see their pal up and about again.
Zippy the paralysed cockapoo using his walking frame and roller skates
Zippy the cockapoo lost use of his back legs after jumping off a sofa and slipping a disc (Picture: CATERS NEWS AGENCY)
Jean, a part time lecturer, said: ‘It’s amazing to watch Zippy on his roller-skates and finally get some independence back.

‘Zippy had always been a happy and placid dog who used to visit care homes, hospitals, nurseries and schools for children with complex needs.

‘The last four months have been heartbreaking to see him going through such a tough time.

On hot summer days, walk your dogs before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. — or walk them only in shady or grassy/dirt areas.

‘When he had the accident we immediately drove him to the emergency vets where an MRI confirmed he had slipped a disc.

‘There was a 50/50 chance the spinal operation would work – but we were willing to take the risk to see him walk again.

‘Sadly, it didn’t work, and he was still paralysed but we could see in his eyes that he was fighting.

Jean Stork, 63, from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, and Zippy, 7, a cockapoo
Zippy also had to go through months of physiotherapy (Picture: CATERS NEWS AGENCY)

‘We discussed as a family that we couldn’t put him to sleep and decided to fight for him.’

The day before Zippy’s accident the couple had to say goodbye to another dog, Cosmo, as he had a tumour.

They were determined not to let Zippy go.

‘The difference with Zippy is he is young and determined and wants to get back on his feet,’ said Jean.

Zippy had to undergo physiotherapy, laser treatments, and hydrotherapy to get him strong again.

‘Like any dog, Zippy loves going for walks and strolls through the woods – it was terribly sad seeing him indoors,’ Jean explained.

‘I began researching and found Winston’s Wheels – an American charity that offered us a doggy wheelchair and it seemed like the perfect way to get Zippy back outside.

For a dog who loves to tear apart stuffed animals, make a durable activity ball with a Hol-ee rubber ball, scraps of fabric, and treats.

‘Incredibly he has got stronger but the wheelchair meant his legs had to be up in stirrups when he was in the woods and I felt he would benefit from having his legs in a normal walking position.

 Zippy, 7, a cockapoo before he became paralysed
Jean is hopeful Zippy will wag his tail again (Picture: JEAN STORK / CATERS NEWS AGENCY)

‘So we decided to look for other options which is when I came across the roller-skates and they mean he can have his legs down on the ground.

‘His right leg is now walking but his left leg needs to get stronger.’

Zippy became the first dog in the UK to use ‘Skate with Maximus’ roller-skates on his back paws and is now loving getting outdoors again.

His owners are hopeful he’ll soon be wagging his tail and running around freely.

Jean said: ‘Every day Zippy is getting stronger – we feared we may lose him.

‘I hope to see him wag his tail again and walk unaided in the back garden.

‘The whole experience has been traumatic but we refuse to give up on him.

The Fix

The daily lifestyle email from

Find out more