SERTÃOZINHO — In a simple house here, 330 kilometers northwest of São Paulo in Brazil, Glauber Pereira Souza, 36, is the head of a four-legged family: He owns five dogs, two cats and two rabbits.
The youngest member of his household is Preta, a mongrel female who had been run over by a bus, but miraculously survived. Glauber adopted Preta after her accident. But he did more than that. He made her mobile again by crafting a special wheelchair for her. Petra wasn't the first to benefit from Glauber's care. Glauber's helpful hands have already improved the lives of more than 2,400 dogs across Brazil.
It all began in February 2015, after a friend asked Glauber to help her paralyzed dog. "The poor thing was suffering from advanced-stage canine distemper," Glauber recalls. "It couldn't even move its neck anymore. My friend was desperately looking for a wheelchair so her dog could at least stand on its legs.
Since the wheelchair was working fine, I decided to turn this activity into a gesture of charity for other animals.
Glauber took online tutorials and used the synthetic plastic polymer PVC to make the chair in about 20 days. It was such a success that his grateful friend created a Facebook page for Glauber to showcase his work.
"I've always had that instinct of helping, caring. Since the wheelchair was working fine, I decided to turn this activity into a gesture of charity for other animals. By word of mouth, I've come to make wheelchairs for dogs across the region and country," he says.
Despite being unemployed, Glauber only charges customers the cost of the material. Depending on the size and weight of the animals, it can cost the owner from 20 reais to 190 reais ($6 to $60), while those available in shops usually cost at least 450 reais ($140).
Glauber now makes four to five wheelchairs a day. Even veterinarians recommend him to their patients. Although Glauber loves to make dog-owners happy, it's the reactions of the dogs themselves that motivates him the most.
"All the ones I attend to in person come and lick me whenever they see me. It's as if they wanted to thank me for my help," he says.