A German Shepherd puppy in Boise, Idaho, owes his life to a special chair.
Elijah was born seven months ago and has a condition known as megaesophagus, which doesn’t allow food to travel to his stomach when he is on all fours ― a huge problem for a dog, since they don’t normally eat standing up on two feet. Elijah underwent extensive treatment at a local animal hospital until an employee there built him a chair that helps him digest his food.
“A ring was growing over the esophagus from the heart that normally should have broken down during development and it didn’t,” Dr. Zoe Baxter, a vet at Boise’s Ada Animal Hospital, told local news outlet KBOI TV of the dog’s condition. “It allowed milk to pass through but not solid food.”
Elijah’s original owners couldn’t take of him, so Savannah Amberson, a vet tech at the hospital, adopted him.
“He had to be syringe fed in a full liquid diet every two hours and that was for the first three months of his life,” Amberson told the station.
Elijah went through three surgeries before he got his special chair, which props him up vertically so that gravity pushes the food down to this stomach. The brother of an employee at the animal hospital made the chair, basing it on a concept known as the “Bailey Chair,” which is designed for dogs with the same condition Elijah has.
Elijah didn’t take to the chair at first but has gotten used to it, even falling asleep in it, per CNN.
Even better: He’s gained 30 pounds since he first began using the chair about a month ago.