Thanks to the magical powers of Facebook, I discovered an exciting harness for dogs with mobility problems. It’s called the Pet Support Suit for disabled dogs from AST – Animal Suspension Technology. The company has been making these individually designed harnesses for senior, injured, disabled and amputee dogs since 2006.
Eric Swisher, who founded AST, left several helpful comments on the Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog Facebook page so I contacted him for an interview. I think harnesses are one of the best devices to own when you are caring for a handicapped dog. I wanted to learn more about the pet support suit and why I wasn’t familiar with the AST company.
A dog named Bernard started the AST mission
Eric explained that AST got its start because he wanted to solve a problem for a dog named Bernard. Friends of Eric adopted Bernard in 2006 from a local Humane Society. Soon after the dog went from being a healthy pup to one who could not stand without assistance. Bernard had problems with muscle coordination and balance. His owners were advised to euthanize him.
Eric’s friends decided to give Bernard a chance for a good life. They turned to Eric and his then-wife, Victoria, for help. It wasn’t because of Eric’s knowledge about dogs; it was because of Victoria’s amazing sewing skills.
The couple wanted her to design a padded harness that wrapped around Bernard’s torso and could be worn comfortably all-day long. They wanted a sling with easy access and control when they walked with Bernard and didn’t allow him to slip out.
After several models, the Swisher’s came up with their pet support suit concept. The suit has Velcro® sides for a quick release, extra padding for hours of use and clip-on handles to give his owners control. It gave Bernard the balance he needed to stand and walk.
Eleven years later, Bernard is still using his support suit. He’s added a dog wheelchair to help him be more mobile outdoors, but he is still going strong with his custom designed harness. Eric said that Bernard’s had an amazing life.
AST likes to work with individual clients behind the scenes
While AST has been working hard over the years to serve their four-legged clients, the company does a lot of work behind the scenes. They supply canine rehab centers with pet support suits and slings. One rehab center uses it as a winch to comfortably get dogs in and out of their hydrotherapy pool.
Eric shared a story about a dog who used the harness in this capacity. Trinity suffered a stroke and needed to relearn how to walk. With help from hydrotherapy treatments and the pet support suit to transfer into the water, she is back to walking like a typical dog.
Pet Support Suit and Get-a-Grip lifting harness
The pet support suit is AST’s custom lifting harness. Each one is singularly designed for individual dogs. It is intended for pets who need to use a sling for a lifetime or for a longtime. The harness is made of heavy-duty materials for strength and durability. It is machine washable with warm water.
The Get-a-Grip harness is intended for dogs who need help for a short period of time. It’s great for pets recovering from an injury or surgery and senior dogs with arthritis. The sling comes in three standard sizes that can fit a small Chihuahua to a giant breed Mastiff. Like the pet support suit, this harness is made of heavy-duty materials that are machine washable.
I hope you’ll check out AST for yourself. You can order a support suit or Get-a-Grip harness directly from the AST website.
This is not a sponsored post and I am not being compensated by AST. I am bringing you this product as a service to my readers.