The picture above is of Elijah, a German Shepher puppy who lives in Boise, Idaho. Sadly, Elijah was born with a rare disorder called megaesophagus, which prevents food from traveling to his stomach while he’s standing on all-fours.
As you can imagine, that’s big problem for an animal who walks on all-fours.
But that throne Elijah is pictured in is more than just a cute prop for a puppy-pic: it’s a special “gravity chair” that allows him to eat.
The chair was built by an employee at Ada Animal Hospital, where Elijah underwent extensive treatment.
“A ring was growing over the esophagus from the heart that normally should have broken down during development and it didn’t,” said Dr. Zoe Baxter, one of the vets who attended to Elijah. “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 his eating char was developed. As the name implies, the chair props him up vertically, utilizing gravity to drop the food to his stomach. Elijah didn’t like the chair at first, but once he realized it was necessary for him to eat, he got used to it. Apparently, he’s even fallen asleep in it (which is adorable).
Elijah has gained a healthy 30 pounds while using the chair, and when he’s not propped up in lift-off position, you’ll find him playing with other puppies at the park.
(Image courtesy of HuffingtonPost via CNN)