I have had two dogs in my adult life. Any pet lover will agree that a dog becomes part of your family. Intertwined so deeply into your daily life that you factor many of your life's decisions around your furry friend.
Allie was a Labrador / Hound mix and was full of life and energy. Once she was even witnessed to climb a tree to chase a squirrel. She was equally athletic as she was loveable and snuggle-able. She was my best friend. So, you can imagine my devastation when she was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease that would paralyze her legs. I began noticing the symptoms in June, and by August she was unable to walk. Unable to void or have a bowel movement on her own.
When the vet began discussing options for comfort care and possible euthanasia, I couldn't believe those words were being spoken to me. Allie was only 5 years old. She was my baby girl. She was The Blackness Monster, the Doggo-patumus, Little girl, my buddy. Alice. She was not in any pain. She was the sweet little pup that she had always been,... she just couldn't walk.
I started researching her disease online and came across assistive devices for handicapped pets. I immediately sized her for a doggie wheelchair, and while $500 was breaking the bank for me at that time. I was willing to do anything to buy her quality of life back.
The device arrived at an unfortunate time. Literally on the day of it's arrival, the most devastating hurricane to reach eastern NC arrived at our doorstep.
Hurricane Irene passed right over top of my town and as the eye passed over we tried out the wheels for the first time hoping that she would be able to pee on her own. I nervously strapped Allie in to her new cart and marveled at what happened next. In the eye of the storm, streets covered in debris, Allie’s eyes lit up, and off she went down the road eager to run again. It was a miracle.
The harness around her head allows her to pull with her shoulders. The diagonal straps across her back prevent her from coming out of the cart should she roll over – which occasionally happened. Padded loops around her rear legs keep her paws from dragging while allowing her rear limbs to move in a running motion.
The wheels were such a hit for Allie. She was even able to chase the squirrels again. In fact, she flipped herself over one time and landed back on her wheels in a high speed chase. She still needed help to have bowel movements but she was peeing on her own. She would wear the wheels whenever outside and in the house she would scoot around on the carpet. Whenever I would get close to the wheels she would get excited thinking it was time for our walks.
And so I encourage you to learn from Allie's adaptability. With in seconds of being strapped into the wheels she hit the ground running,.... toward a new life,.... even if she was, in fact, surrounded by a storm.