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

Sooke Potholes viewing area likely to remain closed

Report says that more rockslides likely in the area

Ousted legislature officials say report released to further blacken their reputations

James and Lenz say release was ‘Contrary to all principles of fairness and decent treatment’

Loud repairs of navy vessel in James Bay peak today

Asterix undergoing repairs at Ogden Point

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Pioneering Telegraph Cove whale watching company cast adrift after 38 years

Stubbs Island Whale Watching announced it is ceasing operation

Giant ice disk equipped with webcam after surviving storm

Westbrook official Tina Radel says the livestream was requested by Brown University

River Rats beat the odds in game against Cowichan

The Sooke River Rats came up big against a formidable foe on… Continue reading

B.C. animators land Oscar nominations

‘Animal Behaviour’ by Vancouver’s David Fine and Alison Snowden among several Canadians on the short list

B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

One-third of pregnant women think cannabis won’t harm their baby: UBC

Review of six U.S. studies found doctors didn’t communicate health risks of pot use

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Most Read