I have been operating Pets Need A Life Too since early 2006 when I invited a Rottweiler named Cole into my life – I wanted to ensure he would be a nuisance to no one, so I educated myself on animal behaviour, body language and enrichment. I loved the idea of enrichment, choosing to specialise in it, eventually developing the business.
6 years later, I came home to my beautiful boy walking around like a drunken sailor. He was having trouble, particularly with his hind legs. Visits to a specialist were not able to find a diagnosis, nor even a treatment. Cole was not able to go for his usual daily walks around the suburb or down on the beach, fortunately he was able to stumble around the house and toilet himself – he was 60kgs, so very hard to lift.
I researched for something to help him and came across the Walkin Wheels Wheelchair. I loved the fact it was a simple matter of a couple of measurements and the construction was sturdy – it needed to be, he was a big dog
I was so excited when I got his wheelchair, he took to it immediately and we were able to get back to our daily walks
I was grateful that something existed for me to be able to help my wonderful boy and me for that matter, as it was heartbreaking to see him struggle. So, just as Cole inspired me to create Pets Need A Life Too, I added wheelchairs to my inventory, recognising how mobility was an important part of enrichment and recognising so many people needed help for their pets with mobility and infirmity issues.
Now it is 2021, I am an unofficial distributor for the Walkin Wheels products, created a new business called HandicappedPets Australia and one of my current dogs is suffering mobility problems caused by bad hips.
Ash came to us about four years ago as a regular boarder to our house. She fell in love with our Rottweiler Boston, relishing in her times with us to play with him – her owner would often be in tears of joy, watching Ash play as she did not appear to be overly playful in the time she had her. We would joke about sending wedding invitations for the dogs as Ash was clearly besotted by the handsome Boston.
Ash became a permanent member of our household when her owners personal circumstances meant she was not able to give Ash the time she needed.
It became clear to us that Ash began to not enjoy her walks, with a Veterinary visit suggesting she had severe hip problems. We stopped taking her for walks because her distress was palpable, tail firmly rammed between her legs, excessive panting, she would weave around on the out walk, but drag us as quick as she could on the home stretch, keen to get home and back on the couch!
Recently she has started to have issues at home, her hind quarters struggling to hold herself up, slipping on the floorboards and generally having difficulty walking. Walkin’ Pets do have a product called Hip Eez which could potentially help her indoors, however she is an in-between size, so it’s not suitable for her (Walkin’ Pets have just released a M/L size so I am keen to try it on her) – The Walkin’ Hip-EEZ® hip support system combines compression and a feeling of lift to support a pet’s hip joint.
After watching Ash struggle to toilet one morning, I decided to try her in one of the wheelchairs – I had a refurbished one waiting as a rental, it is a full support quad cart, which I trialled her in first. She was ok in that but I decided she would be ok in the rear only version. Converting the wheelchair into the rear only (that is the beauty of the Walkin Wheels wheelchair – it is completely adjustable to suit the needs of your pet, rear only can convert to a full support wheelchair with a additional front attachment.)
I regularly say to anyone that will listen, that my clients always say to me, whilst on the verge of tears, that they notice an immediate change in their pets demeanour when the animal is placed in the wheelchair, recognising it now has the ability to be mobile and relatively independent again. They say they felt their pet was slipping into a depressed state – I notice the change in the animals too, even though I usually have only been with them for just a few moment whilst fitting the wheelchair.
I can tell you it is real – the change in Ash was immediate – she stood tall and proud in her wheelchair, fully supported, alleviating the pain from her hips.
We took her for a short walk with her boyfriend – she simply will not go anywhere without her B Bear (AKA Boston). It was such a rewarding moment to watch her walk confidently, with her tail held high, almost but not quite, running to keep up with Boston. And for the rest of the day, she seemed energised and happy, she was a completely different dog for the rest of the day!
I am going to say what so many of my clients say to me: “I wish I had done it sooner!”