Knoxville — After working in the field of human orthotics and prosthetics for 27 years, Bill Kitchens says he wanted a change, so he recently opened a Knoxville location of “My Pet’s Brace.”

“I loved working with people,” Kitchens, a certified orthotist, said. “But I’ve got a great job here. A lot of times, the dogs will lick you in the face and love on you. It’s like they know you’re helping them.”

Kitchens traded his two-legged patients for those with four. My Pet’s Brace, based in Pennsylvania, specializes in creating custom braces and casts for dogs and other pets when surgery is not an option or a brace is needed for rehabilitation.

“There are some vets who make the mold and send them to the Pennsylvania office to have a brace made, but it’s difficult because they don’t do them all the time. Also, when it comes to the fitting aspect of it, they don’t fit them all the time,” Kitchens said, describing his clinic as an extension to the vet. “A lot of people know that pet braces are similar to humans. They’ve looked it up and have read about it and would rather come to an orthotist or prosthetist instead of relying on the vet to do it.”

One of Kitchens’ new patients is a pug named Philomena, who hyper-extended her leg after jumping off the bed.

“My Pet’s Brace has given her a life back. We’ve tried other methods through her physical therapist to get her more mobile, but nothing has helped as much as this. She put on that brace and was able to run around like any other dog,” said Philomena’s owner, Nina Glazer.

They drove to Knoxville from their home in Atlanta, and Kitchens says he’s already seeing several other long-distance patients since opening in the spring.

My Pet’s Brace is located at 10420 Kingston Pike, Suite 7.