Doggie Wheel Chair

I have a doggie wheel chair to donate for anyone who needs it.

I would like to thank you Mark for this. I have often wanted a vehicle to express my grief over the loss of my best friend. It has been since November 2nd. 2002 since I lost him. As I sit here organizing our memories, I hope for some closure. I know I will never go a day without something reminding me of him. However, I would like to be able to get past the chin shake.
I would not do his life justice without starting from the beginning and giving you some back ground. I never had my “own” pet. Sure I had family pets that I shared with my older brother and my wonderful (single Mom) mother. But I was now in college and on my own. I always loved animals and especially dogs. I had a childhood friend who had a boxer and I always thought they were the “coolest” looking dogs. I found a breeder and went to look at the puppies they had for sale. I looked at the litter and thought about how my friend’s boxer was very high strung and thought I should try to pick one that was not as wound up. There were about 6 or 7 puppies to choose from. All seemed to be playing and jumping. But one little guy, they called the runt of the liter, was sleeping. I remember looking at him and saying now that is just too perfect. I grabbed him up and his little face lit up. His big brown eyes looked right through me and into my soul. There is no other way to describe it. He, in just one look said “I was meant for to be with you.” I completed the transaction and drove my little buddy home. I named him Dino. I have to skip ahead but, it was October 26th. 1991, I am sure of it because it was my birthday.

We made it through my last year of college and onto my first job. We would spend the next 11 years together. By his first birthday, that runt had turned into the most handsome canine I had ever seen. He had one of those looks that would make you think twice about petting him but a personality that made you wish he was yours. He was an “only” dog and I believe went to his grave wondering “when am I going to start walking up right like the rest of the humans?” He was not like other dogs who, walk around a party looking for treats, he would hang out with you. If I was fired up he was too, if I was down he would climb on the couch and rest his large head on my lap as if to say “that sucks man you want to talk about it?” I need you to understand he was a huge boxer. Strong as an ox never has been used more appropriately. He held his head high and proud. Never did I see him lurch around. That is what made his decline so painful and inspiring at the same time.
Dino, followed me through life with support and gratitude. He moved half way across the country when I was relocated to Dallas TX. He slept in my bed every night from the time I brought him home until the end. Understandably, this cost me many relationships. But it was as much his house as mine. Far be it from me to tell him to sleep on the floor, no more than he would have said that to me. For the sake of time, suffice it to say we were inseparable.
As the years past, I could see the evidence of Dino’s age. His muzzle went from jet black to salty. His eyes grew less clear. However, he never lost his posture or muscled physique. Boxers are blessed with the body of an athlete. He was no exception. He was honestly proud and determined to be the “muscle” of our two dog pack. His face still carried that huge grin; he would actually smile, and caring eyes. But one day during our daily walk, or patrol, I noticed his hind claws were scrapping the ground. My first thought was it was time to get his nails clipped. Not long after, a scene I will never forget occurred. Dino had an episode. He suddenly started walking with his two hind legs dragging. He was obviously very anxious about this and his eyes told me so. I was horrified. However, I did not completely lose it as it only lasted a few seconds. I passed it off as a pinched nerve or sleeping legs. When it happened again I was in hysterics. I took him to the vet where he was seen by an intern. Not knowing what could cause this he called the vet in to the examination room. She knew immediately what was wrong. He had degenerative myelopathy.

I had never heard of this awful disease, and naturally asked “so what do we do to fix it?” She asked me to sit and explained what was in store for me and my four legged brother. I left thinking there must be a cure or she is just over reacting. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done. All my prayers and endless internet searches would be fruitless. I did learn many things about “how to make your pet comfortable.” I also read many stories, often with sobbing eyes, on “when to do the inevitable.” People are so kind with their offers of suggestions and “do the right thing.” advice. However, I admit I was going to be a bad dog owner. I could not picture a scenario were I would load him up in the car and drive him the last mile. I talked to him and told him it was going to have to be up to him. I could not accept that responsibility, I would not. He let me know. He knew. I have no guilt.
We went on as any family would. Making adjustments to our life style as, you would with any family member who was handicapped. Eventually, he lost all control of his hind legs. It might help to give you a brief understanding of his ailment. DM is an immune system disease much like AIDS. It causes the immune system to attack the Myelin that protects the spine. Once gone, the nerves hit bone and cause paralysis. It is a SLOW process which makes it heart breaking. Your dog is as fit as any, except this. His brain and forward torso are strong. The worst part is its effect on the dog’s confidence. Dogs’ live their lives competing for dominance. Dino was no exception. He was truly proud and was living the life of a successful little man. From the inability to climb the stairs or get into the truck it all took its toll.
However, I was determined to keep him as comfortable as possible and spare nothing to let him live his life. I remembered seeing a dog in a wheel chair and thought “I can get him one of those.” I set out to help my buddy walk again. I went to my garage and set out drawing up blue prints for his “new legs.” After a couple fittings and alterations, the chair or “Hot Rod” as he liked me to call it was done. The first second that he was strapped into the chair…he took off! Down the road, front legs galloping like Sea Biscuit. I could barely keep up. When I caught him…his smile was back. His tongue hung out. His ears back for added aerodynamic down force. His brain was wagging his nub again. He was a huge hit at all the dog parks and pool parties. People flocked to him to ask about this bionic canine. He had his swagger back. We went on like this for months. You know how when you grab your dogs leash they know it is time for maneuvers. Well the sound of those wheels rolling across the hardwood floors elicited the same effect. We were back! We could do most of the things we did before. He was happy. But, I have to tell you, and this will sound weird, he told me thanks. He was not ready to give up. He would let me know. He was happy with his new lease on life. He would stick around for a while.
We accepted our new routine much as before. But we were walking again. He could look out for the bad people and I would sleep well. After all, that was all he wanted from the beginning. We continued down the road together unabashed by our new oddity. It was a nice distraction. Yet, it was short lived. I am not sure of the time. I did not mark the date. My boy was walking and I was proud. For every letter written here there was a great memory during this beautiful creature’s life. So many in fact, war and peace would pale in comparison. But alas, every dog owner knows it is inevitable.
The inevitable happened one week after my 33rd. birthday. He gave me 11 years and a week. He was happy the morning I left him to go watch a football game. He had shown me over that week that he was satisfied with his life. There were a couple things that had happened that week that seemed out of character. But never was he sad. I think he thought about me. I think he saw that I was holding on too hard. I cried many times with him in my lap. I stroked him and played with his ears. He continued to look out for me during that time of dread. He could sense the thoughts rattling around my head. “I could not…I would not.” “He would do the same for me.” “We had an understanding.” He was ready. On that Saturday, he knew I would have time to get myself together over the rest of the weekend. He knew we had our last long Saturday morning walk, our favorite. He told me good bye with out telling me. He knew he had to have some time. He wanted to save me form that good bye, or see you later. He wanted to save me from any pain, like he had done his entire life. He knew I would try to talk him out of it. To “just give us one more day in the park.” “One more ride with the top down.” But he knew that would just lead to another “one more.” I still wish he had. I would have taken it in a second. But he went to sleep peacefully. I found him curled up next to “his side” of the bed. I called to him but he did not move…I knew. I have never felt such a personal loss. I held his beautiful head in my lap for hours. I cried for hours holding him wishing I could have said good bye. But, he no longer had bad legs. He no longer had to worry about protecting me. He had fulfilled his duty, done all he could. He had accepted me for all my faults, and supported me through my maturation. He literally made me a better man. He showed me what it is to have an undaunted spirit. He showed me that you keep pushing through all life throws your way. And he did it with a smile on his face. I have seen in a dog the traits that are supposed to make us above them. He loved me unconditionally and he is waiting for me. I truly loved him…. I had him cremated and his ashes adorn my mantle to this day. I have a new rescue dog that I love, but he is just not Dino. The mold was broken.

I would love to donate his “hot rod” to anyone who needs it. Dog wheel chairs are expensive, and actually easy to make. If you would like to get his chair feel free to e-mail me. I would assume Mark you can help make this happen.

Thanks Mark

Steve from Texas