By Joe Damone
Andes residents and visitors may have noticed a small black pug scooting around town on 2 wheels. Her name is Karri and she is 13.
Last winter my wife Eloise and I noticed she was having difficulty with her hind legs. After seeing a number of veterinarians, it was determined she either had a degerative neurological disease that has no known cure or advanced disk disease that would require spinal surgery. I felt the surgery was too risky and success too uncertain. Since she is not in pain, is alert and has a good appetite we decided we would not put her down but would instead try acupuncture, and, if that did not help, get her a cart. Unfortunately the acupuncture did not seem to do her much good, so we decided to research a cart.
We found a company out of Massachusetts called Eddie’s Wheels for Pets (www.eddieswheels.com) that had a very good reputation and was recommended by Susan Marino of the Angel’s Gate animal hospice in Delhi. I decided to take a ride to see them and get Karri fitted for a cart. When I got there I found a wonderful place full of activity. Eddie and his wife Leslie’s adopted handicapped pets were scooting around on their carts while dog owners brought their pets to try out and be fitted for these wheeled devices, hoping their beloved pets would be able to get around again and go back to just being dogs.
At first Karri did not take to the cart and we were concerned she would not walk in it. But after a few weeks of working with her and Delhi Dog Trainer Jan Newcomer, she came along. Now she walks about a ½ mile with me every day from our home to Hogan’s (knowing Hogan has a treat for her) and back; sometimes she even trots in her cart. We also took her to the Jersey Shore in September and she ran on the beach and even went in the ocean in her cart!
The loss of the use of a dog’s hind legs used to be a death sentence for the animal but not anymore, thanks to modern technology and companies like Eddie’s Wheels.
We are sure the winter will be challenging for Karri in her cart but we are hoping for the best and that she will adapt to walking in the cart in the snow and cold weather. Some additional training may be needed to help make the transition or maybe someone makes a ski retrofit for the cart! ~