A foreign man makes wheelchairs for hundreds of dogs and cats with disabilities and has a special love for Vietnam

Making wheelchairs and rescuing hundreds of dogs and cats who have been abused, abandoned, or born with birth defects by their owners is a job that 44-year-old Oscar Fernando Ruiz Bonilla, a Colombian, makes everyone admire.

Coming to Vietnam about 6 years ago, Mr. Oscar Fernando Ruiz Bonilla (44 years old, Colombian), made a career by opening a restaurant cooking homegrown dishes.

In 2019, he fell in love with Ms. Thu – a Vietnamese general practitioner with a love for pets. The two then got married and founded a community called Forever Wheelchair. This is a wheelchair facility and rescues abused, neglected, and disabled pets.

A foreign man makes wheelchairs for cats and dogs in Vietnam - Photo 1.

Mr. Oscar Fernando Ruiz Bonilla (44 years old, Colombian) – Co-founder of Forever Wheelchair – an organization to make wheelchairs and rescue dogs and cats in Vietnam

Our project has a research and development department, the goal is to try to improve the wheelchair once every 6 months, every little detail. We always think about the needs of dogs and cats with disabilities, using that as a basis to find the best solutions to help overcome their problems,” said Mr. Oscar passionately about the special wheelchairs  . that he and his community made, stemming from a love for animals in general, especially abused and abandoned dogs and cats.

In Vietnam for 6 years, this Colombian man has had a 5-year journey, going to many places and meeting many people to help disabled dogs and cats. Before we met Oscar, we knew there would be a lot to ask and to hear from him. The conversation began when Oscar mentioned Chim Chim – a dog whose owner had cut off his front legs. 

Fish Chim – a 2-legged dog that “hates” the whole world!

Having witnessed hundreds of disabled dogs with all kinds of injuries, but Ca Chim reminds Oscar the most. It is extremely aggressive and has many psychological problems. It even bit him many times. We spent a few seconds grimacing “can’t imagine”. Believe me, everyone is the same when they first hear about the “love relationship” between Ca Chim and his wife Oscar. 

Why did this man do such a “weird” thing? But believe me, you will understand and sympathize with Ca Chim when listening to the story that Oscar tells.

Oscar told us, Ca Chim was one of the first dogs he saved, it was cut off by its owner and thrown on the street, and because it was full of the smell of sea fish at that time, he named it “Fish”. bird”. Several years have passed since being saved by Oscar, Chim Chim is still very aggressive towards strangers.

“If it weren’t for my wife, this project probably wouldn’t have been possible. When we saw Ca Chim, she asked me: ‘You want to adopt, right?’ I said yes, I want to help. Birdfish was abused, someone cut off his front legs and threw him on the street. Birdfish was bleeding a lot, angry, scared, disobedient to anyone and ready to go. ready to rush out and bite everyone. 

The moment I met Ca Chim, I knew it was a very special case, I must say very very special, and we will have to be patient and love it more than anything. 

The Chimpanzee bites us many times, it doesn’t like us to touch it to apply medicine and bandage the wound. It hates doctors, even biting doctors. But I know that if it weren’t for us, no one else would have adopted it. Just like that, it will lie there waiting to die,”  Mr. Oscar said.


Fish Chim is the name of the first dog that Oscar and his wife made wheelchairs and rescues

Because of that “if”, Oscar crossed the line of self-defense, reaching out to save the life of the terrible kid that bit him, giving the Chimpanzee a second life. He healed the wound and thought about it. the creation of a wheelchair for it. For a time, Mr. Oscar thought that death might have been a much more pleasant thing for the Chimpanzee at the time he met it. But then it overcame all the pain, and is now living a very happy life with its new owner. 

“While taking care of Fish Chim I learned many things, I learned how to make wheelchairs for animals that don’t have two front legs. And while looking for a way to make Fish Chim a complete wheelchair so that he can Running, jumping on the sidewalk, on the hill or the stairs, I also experienced many things. 

I was designing from one to the other, one day when we posted our first image on social media, friends from other countries saw it and they started asking about it. . After that, our products are more known in Vietnam as well as in the world. We do more, both business and giving. 

Mr. Oscar and his wife spent more than 5 years taking care of polio and abandoned dogs and cats

I think Ca Chim helped us even though at the time we helped Chim Chim we didn’t think of any other purpose but I just wanted to give him a second chance at life.  This is like we gave him a life and he gives us something of value, that’s why I always remember the Chimpanzee.”

The journey to make wheelchairs for hundreds of polio dogs and cats

Oscar said he had seen wheelchairs for dogs and cats with disabilities made from PVC pipes and Oscar’s journey to find opportunities to exercise for dogs and cats also began there.

Make a wheelchair for cats and dogs

“I bought a few small wheels and started making my first wheelchair out of PVC pipes, like I see a lot of people do on Youtube. But later on, I wasn’t satisfied with the wheelchair, because the pipes are too heavy, not pretty and the adjustment after finishing is very difficult.If the animal is an adult it is ok, but will not be suitable for those in the growing stage.

I researched and tested many different materials to find the one that best suited the animal’s skeletal structure. Not all wheelchairs are made of the same material, some are plastic, some are metal, some are rubber… I studied their anatomy, their behavior to find the best possible position. Tie the wheelchair in without affecting the body development of dogs and cats,” Mr. Oscar shared.

Oscar wears a wheelchair for a dog named Bon

Over the course of five years, Oscar and his wife and associates have developed a version of the wheelchair from basic to more modern and scientific. Giving us an example of application, Oscar introduced a dog named Bon – a Poodle dog with a weaker backbone than other breeds. 

“For example, Bon is a Poodle so her body can’t handle the weight of a system that is too heavy. Bon needed something super light so we used super light materials for her. We use suspension to make the wheelchair more flexible.When Bon runs fast, plays or jumps high, this wheelchair helps Bonn to do so, helping Bon feel free.

We combined features to make it easy for anyone to adjust the height, width or narrowness. As for the hardware, this wheelchair is like a toy, children can also install it. From that, an animal-loving child can use that as an incentive to play with the puppies more, put them in a wheelchair and play with them, take them for a walk.” 

Inside the home assembly workshop of Mr. Oscar and his wife

But that is not a product that really makes Oscar happy, talking about the complete structure of the wheelchair for dogs and cats at the present time, Oscar confidently describes: 

“In other cars, we changed the position of the laces. At the same time, we also used different types of wheels, different types of rubber to make things more convenient on any terrain. The car, for example, allows them to run on grass, on sand, on cement, everywhere. And with that stability, they can run and turn very quickly without worrying about losing their balance. a sense of security, when they feel safe they will cooperate more, want to go for a walk, want to run or explore their own abilities”.

Most of the stages are machining. 

Before a wheelchair was born, Oscar put ideas on the design drawing board, distilling each part so that it fits the spine, pelvis, and leg muscles of a dog, then he found each car parts according to pre-estimated proportions, begin to assemble, analyze the results, improve and finally arrive at the finished product. 

In addition to the Vietnamese market, the wheelchair products for dogs and cats of Oscar and his associates are well received all over the world.

The one who sows the seed of love

Answering our questions, Oscar said that at first he came to Vietnam because of his wife, but then many plans and expectations made him stay longer and longer. 

“She’s my wife, she’s Vietnamese and she doesn’t want to go anywhere so I’m here and I love Vietnam. 

This is a place full of warm, kind people. Of course, there are also many people who don’t like pets, but that’s not the point. I think the population of Vietnam is about 100 million people, only 50% of them need to support the good treatment of pets. For the rest, I hope that people will become more and more friendly with them.” 

The “children” of the couple Oscar. 

While in some countries, pets in general or dogs and cats in particular are always valued and protected. People in such countries are also willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy wheelchairs for their favorite dogs and cats, but in Vietnam this only happens in families and individuals who can afford it. dedication to their pets. But despite understanding that, this Colombian man still chose Vietnam. 

“In Vietnam there are many people who love animals but don’t know what to do with their injuries so I think this is where I have to work, that’s how one can do to help the community. like I came to a country that didn’t have these problems, didn’t have people who needed help, then the story might have been just business, but that’s not what we wanted.My wife and I really wanted to help. helping others rather than doing business”. 

The dogs that Oscar and his wife are raising are disabled dogs. 

Talking to us, Oscar mentioned a time when he worked as a chef. In Oscar’s story, we feel that his attachment to Vietnam is not simply a choice, but it also contains an ideal of life.

“The day before when I cooked at a restaurant, I gave people delicious meals, they were happy but it didn’t mean much. I also apologize to the chefs in Vietnam and other countries. But I think cooking makes a chef happy when he gives quality food to people in need. 

If you cook with love and passion, you put it on a plate and you give it to the homeless. When I was a chef, I was only happy when I cooked food in a restaurant and gave that plate of food to the homeless. That’s an exact example of what we’re doing. We make a beautiful, quality product, but at the same time it has to be useful, which means reaching the people who need it most.”

Mr. Oscar said that next year he and his wife will move to Da Lat to live mainly so that “the children” have a play space and according to Oscar, the climate of Da Lat is suitable for sanitation work. 

Oscar confided, each year he and his wife receive many cases of disabled dogs and cats stemming from many different reasons such as abuse, birth, abandonment, etc. Among them, there are a few dogs. due to running away from the slaughterhouse and that is the reason why he put all his energy into making wheelchairs for dogs and cats. 

“I want to sow the seeds of love for cats and dogs in Vietnam through the things that we are doing. Unlike wild animals, which will run or defend themselves when they see people. But you you know, dogs and cats are different, they are not afraid of people, they want to be around people, especially they trust people and grow up in human communities. Some people love them, but others are available. ready to torment them and they don’t know who is good or bad, who will arrest them and who will love them.” 

Telling us, Mr. Oscar could not hide his joy when he revealed his future plans. He said he and his wife will move to Da Lat and build a farm there. Da Lat according to Oscar is a place where the soil and weather are suitable for nearly a dozen polio dogs and cats that he and his wife are raising. 

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