Pogo, currently available for adoption currently through Dhana Metta Rescue Society in Vancouver, wears orthotics created by Tim Witoski that allow him move following his amputation. Submitted.

Victoria-area orthotist giving dogs a new leash on life

Since he started 10 months ago, Tim Witoski has supplied orthotics for some 25 dogs

Tim Witoski’s resume identifies him as one of the most senior orthotists in the region, if not British Columbia.

He has worked as chief orthotist for the Greater Victoria Hospital Society, served as president and ethics chair of the Canadian Board of Certification Prosthetists and Orthotists, and can look back on a private practice first established in 1989. But as he has scaled back his professional career helping humans, he has transferred his skills helping their four-legged friends.

“It sort of grew organically,” he said.

Witoski’s transition was not necessarily unexpected. Over the years, he has received inquiries about fitting dogs with knee braces, but never the time to pursue the subject of canine orthotics seriously. This reality started to change when he scaled back his hours.

Since he started 10 months ago, he has supplied orthotics for some 25 dogs, ranging from knee and wrist braces to a cart for an amputee dog.

This raises an immediate question: whom does Witoski like treating better? Humans or dogs?

“Oh absolutely, dogs,” he said with a laugh. “Dogs are just so motivated to move, period. They want something that allows them to do whatever they are programmed to do, which is run and jump and chase [things] around. So when you put something on them, you get immediate feedback. You see that they will actually run around and move around, or they will stop and look at you, ‘What the hell are you doing? This isn’t working!”

In creating canine orthotics from scratch using techniques and material that he has used for his entire career, Witoski draws on his knowledge of human physiology.

“It [canine physiology] is very similar in general terms,” he said. In terms of ligaments and skeletal structure, humans and canine are close matches. “All the terminology is transferable,” he said. “It’s all stuff that I have used for my entire career.”

Witoski works on dogs about two days a week, with the rest of his time going towards his human patients.

“I would love this to be my only thing,” he said. “Growth-wise, if it doubles, I would say, ‘OK, I just do the dogs.’”

Witoski, for the record, does not own a dog himself.

“Unfortunately, my wife is super allergic, and our kids are gone,” he said. “They wanted a dog. If we got a dog now, we would be divorced from our children. I got lots of dogs now. I’m compensating for what I don’t get at home.”

 

Orthotist Tim Witoski shows off a custom-made knee brace for a dog’s hind-leg. Witoski has been creating canine orthotics for about ten months now. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Just Posted

Civilian living at CFB Esquimalt faces drug trafficking, assault charges

Noah Currie is currently in prison after Jan. 8 arrest

Beached boat grounded by weather in Oak Bay

20-foot fibreglass sailboat ended up ashore

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Sooke’s EMCS rout Stelly’s for first win of season

‘It’s definitely a sigh of relief to get that first game,’ said coach Trevor Bligh

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Vancouver Island fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read