One of the early lessons Ken and I learned was to play games with Sophie. The inspiration came from our youngest dog, Cody. He loved to roughhouse with Sophie before she became paralyzed and he didn’t see any reason why the games had to stop just because she couldn’t walk.
Although Sophie was a paralyzed dog she still loved being outdoors. She was used to going on daily walks before her illness and she still craved the fresh air and the smells of our neighborhood. The desire to keep her mobile led to a whole series of paralyzed dog wagons, wheelchairs and carts Ken and I bought for her to try. Some of these were good ideas, but others turned out to be very bad ideas, so feel free to use our experience as a guide of what not to do.
“The best part of having a paralyzed dog is that you always know where she is.”
I’ve heard about dogs that are paralyzed, but continue to be mobile by using their upper body strength to pull themselves across the floor so they can move around their houses as they please. Sophie wasn’t that type of dog and maybe it was because of her advanced age. At 11 years-old she pretty much stayed in whatever room where I left her. Her immobility posed a problem because it meant that she couldn’t reach food or water by herself and it kept her isolated from the rest of the family. Ken and I knew this type of arrangement wasn’t what we wanted for our dog, so we set out to find an easy mode of transporting Sophie inside our house.
Did you know that you can learn just about anything from watching a YouTube video? Seriously, there are people who film instructional information on every subject imaginable and the one I stumbled across, early during Sophie’s illness, saved my dog’s life. “I learned how to help a paralyzed dog use the bathroom, on YouTube.”
Once Sophie’s hind legs stopped functioning altogether, my husband Ken and I realized that we had two very big obstacles to overcome to manage her care. We had to come up with a way to move our dog from room to room around the house and we had to learn how to express her bladder to keep away potential infections.