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My dog Baxter

by Everett Steiner
(Indianapolis , IN)

good old dog

good old dog

I had Baxter for 15 years and he was a very good dog. In the last year he had a lot of problems. I was surfing the web and found your site and built him his wheel chair - he loved it. We had to put him down yesterday. I would like to give it to another dog that needs one. We had a lot of good times. Thanks again.

Editor's note: Everett, we are sorry for your loss. We think Baxter was really lucky to have such caring owners.

Visitors - if you would like to get in touch with Everett about this used homemade dog wheelchair please contact us.

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Never give up hope!

by Teresa
(New Port Richey, FL)


Deogee was given to me as a housewarming present. In the past 14 years we've been through a lot. We've moved 3 times, been through 6 boyfriends and a urinary tract infection that lasted 12 years because I trusted an ignorant vet tech (FYI.. NO! Some dogs don't just have smelly pee).

6 months ago I came home from running errands and went looking for her to let her out. She was standing in the doorway of the bedroom with a strange look on her face. She was having difficulty walking but I thought it was just her arthritis. When we got outside she fell going potty and I knew something was very very wrong.

I picked her up and put her in the backseat of the car, throwing my back out in the process. I called the vet and told them we were on our way in.

20 minutes after we got to the vet they broke the news to me. My wonderful baby girl had had a stroke. Deep down I believe I already knew this. I have a little bit of medical training and recognized the symptoms. I just didn't believe it was true.

It was a frightening sight. Just the day before she had been playing and running with my other dog (a mini doxi, Oscar Mayer) and now all she could do was lie there. She couldn't walk or stand. She couldn't hold her head right, it kept drooping and turning to the right. There was a slackness in her face on the right side. But the most frightening part of all, were her eyes. She had what was called nystagmus. A condition often associated with strokes where the eyes move extremely rapidly and uncontrollably side to side. It was truly horrible.

I was hysterical through the whole visit. This just could not be happening. Not that day. It was October 20th. An Aunt had passed away over the weekend and her funeral had been that morning. And it was the 2 year anniversary of the surgery that had put my mother on life support. Now this? October is no longer my favorite month.

The vet said she wanted to keep my baby at least overnight to make sure that she was stable. Then came more bad news. When it came time to take her home she might walk out like nothing happened, I might take her home in the same condition she came in, or she might pass away overnight.

3 days later I took my girl home. She had some use of her front legs but no control of her back legs. To get around I had to use a beach towel as a sling and walk as I straddled her. She had also lost her voice. She couldn't growl, wine or yelp. And what was once a big booming bark now sounded like the baby harp seal with laryngitis.

The next 6 months saw a raging urinary tract infection from her being so stationary, 2 months of physical therapy and many, many, many trips to the vet. I spent hundreds of hours online researching, asking questions and researching the answers I was given. I told everyone I met what happened to my girl and posted it on my facebook page. All in hopes of finding someone who had had the same experience.

FINALLY I found someone. In fact, I found hundreds of someones. A yahoo group called AbleDogs, all owners of handicapped dogs all with special needs (cancer, CHF, amputation, behavioral...). These people became my source of information, moral support and friendship. They are the most valuable thing I have found on the internet.

BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!!!!!!

2 weeks ago I looked up and saw my girl STANDING drinking water out of her bowl. The next afternoon I actually got video of her walking on her own across the front yard and into the house!!!! I rushed to the vet and sat in the waiting room for 3 hours to show her a 2 minute video (she was in surgery when I got there). The next morning I went to the physical therapist's office to show her. I got the same reaction out of everyone.... jumping up and down and yelling 'Look at her go!'.

5 and a half months of lifting her, walking with her and cleaning her up every night when I came home from work. 5 and a half months of exercises, stretching, massage and hydrotherapy. 5 and a half months it took her to start walking on her own. But it was worth every minute of the wait.

I have the most wonderful vet in the world!!!! NOT ONCE did she even mention putting Deogee to sleep. She never even considered it an option. I know she gave me discounts and she lets me make payments. She referred me to the best canine physical therapist in town. And she has patiently read through every bit of information that I have brought her.

Deogee did all the work. She truly is a force to be reckoned with.

Yesterday I told the vet that if she ever has another patient that has a stroke, to give them my phone number. There was no one to guide me through this. Now it's time for me to pay it forward.

NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!! NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!

Editor's note: Teresa, thank you so much for sharing this information and your inspiring story. I am always in awe of the dedication dog owners show in caring for their pets.

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A dog in a dog

CHEESE!!!!

CHEESE!!!!

His name is Riley, a Yorkshire Terrier. He died of heartworms. Fortunately, I see him in another dog, a Coton de Tulear named Huckleberry Finn - he's lovable, playful, and extremely cute! I love him and Riley - I'll never forget Riley!

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New ride for an older dog

by Dan
(Moody AFB, GA)


Our 15 year old pup now has new wheels... thank you so much for sharing your plans. Ole Hoosier is up and going all over place. We did make some minor changes since he has short little legs and gave him some breathing room since he is a boy. I added the modifications in the pictures.

Dan and Nicci

Hi Dan and Nicci,

It's so good to see that our Dogge Chariot™ Plans have been of benefit to a sweet older dog such as yours. It looks to me like one of the modifications you used was a smaller size wheel (lawnmower type?) due to his short legs, so it's good to know that it is possible to change the wheel size and still have things work well. The other modification I noticed was to the support bar to give him the breathing room you mentioned. We will add the photos to the plans to help other dog owners provide the same for their male dogs.

It is also encouraging to see that just because a dog is advanced in age and losing his mobility, an owner need not choose euthanasia automatically. We know that for many people, the expense of a custom manufactured dog wheelchair - many starting around USD 300 - is too much, on top of veterinary bills and the additional care required to maintain the health of a dog that can no longer get around like he/she used to. We have heard that a relative often puts pressure on the person who cares the most that it is time to let go.

Therefore, we decided to try and find a less expensive DIY option to help folks extend their beloved dog's life if they choose to do so.

At the time we did our trials to develop the plans, custom wheelchairs that people bought were not adjustable and parts were rigid. This meant that often you could not return the wheelchair for a refund if something did not fit right or your dog was not comfortable in it. (We know of at least two dog owners who had this experience, and they paid USD 800 and 1,200, respectively!)

Based on the fact that our test dog, Hope, was not fully grown yet, we decided that an adjustable dog wheelchair was something we needed to have as an option. We also felt that if the owner wanted to pass along or sell the wheelchair to another dog lover, height and length adjustability would be important features.

Anyway, we can't thank you enough for sharing your photo and adaptations of the plans with us. May Hoosier have many more years of riding around in his Chariot!

Jo

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Bubby a dog and his man

by jojo van zandt
(Holts Summit Mo.)


Three days ago my husband's dog was hit by a car - we didn't see what exactly happened. It was his big dog. We took him to the vet and he said, "Radial nerve damage."

At first I was worried about his quality of life but in just 3 days he has shown small improvements. He has a great attitude and will to live - we are trying to figure out how to help him with a cart. It is his front right.

Any advice would be appreciated!


Hello Jojo,

We are assuming that you do not have the funds to purchase a cart from Eddie's Wheels or Handicapped Pets.

We have a set of plans for a quad dog wheelchair called the Dogge Buggy™ that you can build yourself for a lot less than $400 plus. This wheelchair gives support to the dog's body - rear support is optional. It was tested on a 100 lb dog. You can change the amount of support you provide the dog as he improves in function.

If you'd like more information about these plans and this type wheelchair, here is the link:
http://www.make-and-build-dog-stuff.com/dog-plans.html

Note that the support bar between the rear wheels can be set elsewhere so that it does not interfere with the dog's rear legs. We can give you instructions as to how to do this.

Note that since we received your story in April, we will have the photo on our home page for May. We appreciate you adding it.

Best wishes - please keep us updated as to how things go...
Jo

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ACL Tear Repair: Not for everyone

by Lisa
(Idaho)

1 month after surgery

1 month after surgery

1 month after surgery
2 1/2 months after surgery with her physical therapy dog.

I have been coming to Jo's site for a few years now. Around the time I first rescued my dog I posted a biography on how I found our beloved dog Scylla (see Scylla-This One's Trouble and Evil magpies tease dog).

Last winter , January 2012, Scylla tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right leg while running. She hit a patch of ice and her leg slid back and the ligament tore. Eventually it severed completely and the local vet did a surgery where he looped a suture around each bone to hold the leg together while scar tissue formed (about $500). While she was recovering she tore the other leg (common occurrence). We suffered as Scylla suffered struggling to walk. It became so that she had difficulty relieving herself because she could not stand and constipation increased her discomfort. This type of surgery seems to work better with smaller dogs.

As we saw it, we had two choices, put her down or find a way to repair her legs. Scylla is only 6 years old and we have grown so attached to her as we have no children at home now. We decided to try to save her.

My Vet said that he only knew of one Vet in my state that has done ACL repairs successfully but he was a 3 or 4 hour drive from our town and the surgery would cost thousands. My husband and I discussed the situation and wondered if another surgery would be harmful. I called the Vet surgical specialist and his staff explained the procedure and results to the point I felt comfortably sure it could help her more than harm her. The only thing that concerned me was cost and the procedure itself.

I decided to drive my dog out to Sun Valley, Idaho, for a consultation and exam. At the time I did not know that both her rear legs were severed. I thought it was partially hip problems because a vet told me she saw it in an x-ray which turned out not to be the case.

The vet surgeon told me what was wrong with my dog after an exam and said it was fixable. He also told me my dog did not have hip dysplasia as I was told. I asked him how much it would cost and he quoted a price that was about $2000 less than I had been told by my vet so I believe the surgical vet cut the cost for me. He described the surgical procedure and I tried to keep up with the jargon but I failed. I agreed to have the surgery done at a cost of around $3600.

Her recovery was painful but not unbearable. Scylla was walking stiffly but normal compared to what it had been. The staff explained to me, in layman's terms, that both the bones in her hind legs had been completely severed and reattached with metal plates. I was horrified but the immediate results spoke for itself. The recovery was NOT restricted as with the first surgery.
It has been about 3 months since her surgery and her hips and hind legs are still a bit emaciated from 6 months of not being able to walk but she is now back to going for walks. She gets sore after a mile and I have to give her a pain pill but she appears to get stronger every week. She has also been swimming. She tries to run but it seems to cause her some discomfort. I had purchased a ramp I found at a thrift store a year earlier thinking she had hip dysplasia and it has come in handy for loading her into the car. She bounces on her front paws when she sees us come home from work and it has all been worth it for that alone.

I am writing this because I found very few reviews from pet owners that had opted for this surgery when I researched it before having it done. I am hoping this will help someone that is considering the surgery or considering the cost. I paid with a credit card and made payments until it was paid off so this surgery's cost may not be for everyone. Please post any questions you may have and I will answer to the best of my ability or will try to direct you to better answers.

Hello again, Lisa - Sorry you have had to go through that with Scylla and my apologies for posting this so late. It is great to see that your gamble with the surgery paid off. Thank you very much for helping other dog owners who may be in a similar situation. All the best -
Jo

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