I have sciatica. My husband has a bad shoulder and back. My 15-year-old dog has arthritis. What a fun threesome we are!
My 75-pound Labrador Buddy lives to hunt ducks with my husband. In fact, that is a big reason we moved to Texas after 40 years in Colorado. My husband and Buddy spend three months a year getting up at an unreasonable hour and enjoying time on the boat. Wouldn’t catch me getting out of bed at 4:30AM to set up decoys! And just so you know, all the meat that we can’t eat is donated to the church. In the summertime they take the boat out to fish … anyone want some free catfish?
I began noticing little things as Buddy aged. He began slipping on the hardwood floors. His naps would get longer and longer. His desire to go for swims in the lake decreased. He no longer barked when our cars pulled up in the driveway – he didn’t hear them. He also began barking randomly, almost as if he had imaginary mailmen in his head!
Then it got worse. However, the hardest thing for him and us was his loss of mobility. He used to love to run alongside the ATV as my husband went around our 100-acres. The mere sound of the engine would start his tail wagging! Because our bedroom is on the second floor, he had trouble going up and down the stairs. One night my husband tried to lift him up by his collar and almost choked him to death! He started tumbling down and it broke my heart.
Then came the horror that Buddy couldn’t get up in the truck with my husband or into the boat. The one and only time my husband went without him, he whined and cried the whole time he was gone. Who says dogs don’t get their feelings hurt? They are wrong.
Trips to the vet let to a diagnosis of arthritis, hip dysplasia, and dementia. He also developed cataracts, but his keen eyesight still allowed him to chase after birds and squirrels … just slower! The vet put him on Rimadyl for his arthritis which seemed to help with the pain. The problem was his back legs and hips. I had to find a solution.
My husband lifted him up until he threw his back out. I knew there was no way my back could take lifting him. Also, it would hurt my dog when we awkwardly lifted him and he would cry out in pain. I definitely didn’t want to do something that would cause more pain.
After extensively researching dog mobility harnesses, I chose the “Help’EmUp” Harness because it was made especially for older dogs whose “get up and go” has slightly “get up and gone”. We ordered the size Large with U-Band Hip Lift (he is not neutered). It does not inhibit his ability to pee or poop.
It took my dog about 2 days of wearing it to get used to it. At first he was very skeptical, but now it’s like an invisible second skin.
The handles on the front and back make it very easy to lift him up. And because it evenly distributes his weight, we no longer hurt him when we help him get up the stairs. The harness is padded and comfortable to wear. It also helps him with his daily walking by providing support for his hips. He may no longer be able to run, but he still loves being outdoors.
Most importantly? It allows my dog to continue enjoying the things he loves to do. Here is a picture of him getting into the boat with my husband. If you could only see the sheer joy on his face as they coast across the lake. .. it’s as if the whole lake is his!
If your dog has bad hips or arthritis, I highly recommend the Help’EmUp dog mobility harness. Although it is designed for dogs, it will help you too!