Dogs, cats, horses, and other animals with close ties to humans used to be euthanized if they sustained a serious injury. Today, things are different. Yes, many animals are still put down--but thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and prosthetic limbs, many of our furry friends are getting second lives.
And it's not just pets whose lives are being spared. Birds, elephants, dolphins, and even reptiles have been fitted with replacement feet, beaks, fins, and claws.
Scroll down to learn about nine "bionic" animals whose stories are amazing as they are inspiring.
Naki'o, a red heeler mix, was found in a foreclosed home in Nebraska with his legs and tail frozen in puddles of water-turned ice. He became the first dog to receive four prosthetic limbs.
Chris P. Bacon
When Chris P. Bacon was born with malformed hind legs, a vet adopted him and made him a set of wheels from old toys. Chris has now graduated to a more grown-up wheelchair typically used by disabled dogs.
Winter the dolphin was discovered in Mosquito Lagoon, Fla. with her tail tightly entangled in a crab-trap line. She was brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Fla., where she was given a prosthetic tail.
A stork with a broken beak was found in Hungary, so a specialist in dental prostheses gave it a plastic beak and returned it to the wild.
Oscar the cat lost his hind legs after a nasty encounter with a farm machine. Instead of being put down, Oscar was outfitted with artificial paws.
This elephant in Thailand lost a front leg in 1999 when she stepped on a land mine. In 2006 she got her first prosthetic limb. She's received others since then as her weight has changed.
Meadow, a calf in New Mexico, lost her hind legs to frostbite. Ranchers rescued her and a team of 15 veterinarians gave her prosthetic limbs.
Following a leg injury, this 12-year-old tortoise was able to inch along once again thanks to the creativity of veterinarians who attached a ball wheel to his shell.
After losing its leg in an accident, this white stork was given an artificial limb.
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