Made Right Here: My Pet's Brace

Made Right Here: My Pet's Brace

CAERNARVAON TWP., Pa. - It's a good day for Buster the dog inside My Pet's Brace in Caernarvon Township, Berks County.

He's trying out the leg brace that's been made just for a him- a brace that will help him take his first steps toward becoming the active pooch he used to be, before an injury to the ligament in his knee slowed him down.

Jim Alaimo, who founded the company three years ago with Mark Hardin, gets down on all fours to help Buster's owner ensure the brace is secured tightly in place on one of Buster's hind legs.

"We make braces that support them, so they walk much better, be much more functional and have less pain," he explained.

At My Pet's Brace, the business of braces, prosthetics and orthopedic devices truly has gone to the dogs. From Chihuahuas to mastiffs, the staff can make a brace for just about any size dog, but canines aren't their only clients.

"We have seen cows, we've seen ducks, we've seen horses. We've seen all kinds of different llamas," said Alaimo with a laugh.

My Pet's Brace is one of just a few companies nationwide that caters specifically to animals with hip, leg, shoulder and carpal injuries.

"There was obviously a need for veterinary orthotics and prosthetics," said Alaimo.

After a veterinarian signs off on the procedure, a cast is taken of the animal's leg. The cast is then filled with plaster to create an exact replica of that leg; it's a model that is shaped and sanded until it's just right.

The brace itself is made out of plastic that's custom- colored (Alaimo says purple has been a big seller lately) and custom-sized before it's melted and then fitted over the plaster form.

"From there we trim it out, add straps and have a finished product," said Alaimo.

Of course, there's a lot more fine-tuning that goes into it to make sure every canine is a satisfied customer. The attention to detail is what helps patients like Buster put his best paw forward.

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