Wheelchairs Keep Disabled Pets Moving
Luckily however, my friend's parents were not going to give up on their dog, who they'd had for six years, without a fight. One day her dad found this ad for a company that made wheelchairs for dogs and they haven't looked back since.
Sometimes the dog has problems moving around properly and people make comments about what a waste of money for 'just a dog', but my friend's family couldn't imagine life without their constant companion, and as long as the dog is happy and not in pain, a wheelchair is the best solution of all.
A growing number of pet owners are turning to custom-built wheelchairs to restore mobility to furry friends whose legs, hips or backs don't work. The owners' goals are simple: to reward their pets' unconditional love with whatever it takes for the animals to live normally.
The two-wheel carts support the dog's midsection with a padded saddle, and are secured with a shoulder yoke and chest strap. Most dogs have rear-wheel carts to compensate for lame hind legs, though a growing number of front-wheel carts are being ordered for animals with front-leg problems.
Donna Blain's 7-year-old Maltese named Gizmo hopped and hobbled on his deformed front legs before she adopted him a year ago. She ordered his cart after learning the odd gait had damaged his spine and would have required surgery.
Now he wheels himself around for hours on sidewalks, in parks and anywhere he can find treats and praise.
"He's into everything," said Blain, of Woodstock, Conn. "He just wants to live, after all those years of really hobbling and not being able to get where he wanted to be."
Eddie and Leslie Grinnell, founders of Eddie's Wheels, built their first pet wheelchair in 1989 when their 10-year-old Doberman, Buddha, lost the use of her rear legs because of disc disease and spinal problems.
Their veterinarian, impressed by Buddha's revived mobility and vitality, started referring others to the Grinnells. In 1998, they started their own business.
Similar wheelchair makers can be found in Montana, Maryland, Oregon, Washington and elsewhere. Most dog carts start around $250 and can exceed $500 based on the size of the dog, while the cost of wheelchairs for other animals can vary depending on the type and size of animal.