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deBotech's Carbon Fiber Prosthetics Provided a "Golden" Opportunity for This Pup

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

debotech carbon fiber prosthetic
Scarlett Van Gelder

In late July 2019, Kelly Van Gelder received a text message from a colleague asking if she was interested in a golden retriever puppy that was potentially going to be special needs. Having lost her beloved golden Logan to cancer in 2015 (in which he lost a limb), Kelly’s family had been patiently waiting for the perfect "golden" opportunity to come along. A colleague reached out to Kelly about a female puppy from a recent litter that had an unfortunate accident at just two days old in which there had been trauma to its front right leg. Both Kelly and her other half Lex have been working in the veterinary field for over 17 years, and her colleague was confident that they could provide top-notch care for the special golden. The little pup named Scarlett had an appointment with a Veterinary orthopedic specialist when she was 2.5 weeks old to determine the damage. Ultimately Scarlets limb would be stunted and deformed, but the Van Gelder’s did not know the extent of what would be in her future as they would need to see what happened as she grew. Regardless this sweet golden needed to be a part of a family who would love her and care for her; The Van Gelder’s were that family.

On August 28, 2019, Scarlett arrived at her forever home. She was an instant hit with the Van Gelder’s son (who was just about to turn four at the time). She settled in perfectly with the two other Van Gelder dogs, especially their rescue chihuahua "Hamster," who had just turned one year old at the arrival and Scarlett was already bigger than him, full-grown! Shortly after her arrival, Kelly and Lex set up a time to meet with Bill Bickley of Houston P.A.L.S. to see their prosthetic options. They wanted Scarlett to grow up knowing prosthetics were part of her norm.

"Bill was amazing and knew he could help her along her journey. He was optimistic that she would benefit from the additional leg support." Says Kelly. Scarlett received her first puppy prosthetic around nine weeks old and took to it immediately. There was no stopping that girl from running, playing, jumping, everything.

Being a golden retriever, Scarlett grew pretty quickly those first few weeks. She needed her next prosthetic only a month after her first one. The Van Gelder's knew her limb was stunted almost half-length, and her "paw" was deformed at an almost 45° angle. Scarlett would need a very specific custom-made prosthetics in the future. Scarlett again took her second prosthetic well, and Bill Bickley did an outstanding job making sure it was a perfect fit.

It was a few months before she needed her third prosthetic as Scarlett continued to grow. Bill set her up with more of a temporary prosthetic to buy her some time until she was fully grown and could then fit her final adult prosthetic. Scarlett turned a year old, and it was time for the next step. She had a visit with her orthopedic specialist, who performed radiographs and determined her leg would not require any surgery, at least not soon. While she has severe elbow dysplasia in her bad leg, she had good mobility in that limb. Both the doctor and Bill felt that having the final prosthesis would reduce the weight on her excellent left front leg, allowing that leg to avoid developing arthritis faster.

People wondered why Kelly's family wouldn't just amputate the limb and have her be a tripod? Kelly's response was always, "why would we put her through surgery when her limb was otherwise functional, just deformed? With a prosthetic, Scarlett could be a "four-legged dog".

Bill created Scarlett's custom final leg with deBotech's custom made carbon fiber prosthetic strut. deBotech's innovative prosthetic provided lightweight yet strong carbon fiber support for her limb. When Bill placed the striking new limb on Scarlett, within the first 2 minutes of having it on, Scarlett walked down the hall like a new dog! "This is one of the most rewarding things we do; we love seeing the smiles from the dogs and owners." Says deBotech CEO Hans deBot, who is a dog lover himself. The integration of deBotechs carbon fiber composites into prosthetics has undoubtedly changed the way animals can participate in daily activities for years to come.

While ambitious, Scarlett never was hindered with running and playing without her prosthetic; but having the new limb support has made her adulthood much more energetic and livelier. Her life has improved in so many ways because of her prosthetic. Both of her front legs will be stronger because of it, and this would not be possible without the help from Bill Bickley and deBotech!!

"Scarlett has had such an amazing team following and supporting her through the journey, and we are so grateful for everyone that has played a role in getting her where she is today. We look forward to a long, happy, prosthetic life with Scarlett and making so many fun memories." - Kelly Van Gelder

At deBotech, we are dedicated to impacting animals' lives if there is anything that we can use our advanced technology and manufacturing process to develop, we will get it done!

Scarlett Van Gelder Houston PALS/ deBotech Prosthetic


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