no-knuckling training sock

How the No-Knuckling Training Sock Can Help Your Dog

Thank you to Renee Mills, CCRP, inventor of the No-Knuckling Training Sock, for writing this blog post.

“My dog drags her paws when we go for walks.”

“Sport just doesn’t seem strong enough to lift the booties we’re using anymore.”

These were common concerns my clients would voice to me on a daily basis while working within a Veterinary Rehabilitation Department. As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, I spent years treating patients that were recovering from spinal surgeries, had suffered a stroke, or were just getting older and weak in the hind end. I would design rehab programs to include exercises that would increase strength and proprioception based on each patient’s needs. Dogs would walk over poles, balance on exercise balls, and wear booties to remind them to pick up their hind feet higher.

Finding the Best Solution

no knuckleOne common occurrence was most dogs would drag their hind legs more with booties on as they were still building strength during the recovery process. I struggled to advise my clients on the best solution to this problem. There was nothing lightweight enough on the market for these dogs. How could this be? I’d been experimenting with something to encourage these dogs to pick their hind feet up higher . . . then a light bulb went off.

The Gap Is Filled!

3It was time to put the concept to the test. I started trying different materials, reworking strap placements, and spent countless hours using my own dog Cookie Monster as a baseline for development. After months of clinical trials, the positive patient response was overwhelming, and the No-Knuckling Training Sock was born.

I was seeing immediate results with my patients; it was lightweight, durable, and could even be used in the underwater treadmill by professionals. The gap in assistive devices for pets was now filled.

The No-Knuckling Training Sock was designed to encourage pets to lift their hind legs higher and decrease dragging or scuffing. Created specifically with hind leg weakness in mind, the joint supportive sock aids in retraining dogs how to walk again. The sock is a temporary training tool. It’s meant for short-term, multiple use to best retrain correct gait and hind paw placement.

So how does it work?

You place the training sock around the hock joint, put the padded nylon cord between the middle toes, and tighten. The padded cord stimulates the dog between the toes, which in return causes them to pick up the limb. It’s that simple to aid in the recovery of your four-legged family member.

     5         6         7

8Most commonly pet owners will place the sock on their pet for a two to five minute walk and then remove. For recommendations tailored specifically to your pet, it’s always best to consult with your Veterinarian or Physical Rehabilitation professional before using. They will be able to assist in developing the most beneficial time frames for usage and even work them in to other rehab exercises.

Thinking Outside the Box

Reflecting on the long journey which lead to the No-Knuckling Training Sock, I can’t help but look back at the fond memories of so many dogs who inspired me to think outside of the box. They challenged me to create a solution, to find a way to get them back on their feet. To know that I’ve invented hope for dogs and pet owners’ alike facing a tough illness, is the most heartwarming outcome I could’ve dreamed of!

To find out more about the No-Knuckling Training Sock, including purchase price and specifics, go here:

Renee Mills and No-Knuckling


Ruby the rescue dog

Rescued Pit Bull Dog Makes the Most of Life

A throwaway of a dog, and a pit bull at that. So begins the life of Ruby, who turned out to be just that: a gem.

Abandoned in an empty house at around six months old, the sickly pit bull was rescued by St. Francis of Assisi Rescue and spent three weeks in an animal hospital. That’s when Pat and Lynn Bettendorf got the call asking them to foster the pup. It was Thanksgiving weekend. They already had five dogs and a houseful of family and friends on the way. They said “no” – twice. The third time the rescue called, they said “yes.” That “yes” not only changed the puppy’s life, it changed theirs – and a whole lot of other lives as well.

Ruby the therapy dog
Fully aware of the breed’s innate strength and reputation, the Bettendorf’s are responsible pet owners who train their dogs well. Pat immediately recognized Ruby’s particularly gentle nature and went the extra mile to provide Ruby with a year of specialized training so that she could become a certified therapy dog, and later, a certified assistance dog.

She would go on to visit with and comfort elderly people in nursing homes, patients in hospitals, and elementary schools, shattering unjustified stereotypes of her breed wherever she went:

Ruby visits schools
Ruby visits a hospitalLibrary friend

Ruby and students group photo Edgewood Middle School (1)

Onstage in “Of Mice and Men”

As if that wasn’t enough, Ruby also took the spotlight in live theater, playing the family dog in Cheaper by the Dozen, and a key role in the production Of Mice and Men.

Apparently loving the limelight, she also took second place in a nationwide Milk-Bone contest, which earned her a place on the famous dog treat box, as well as several media appearances.

Sadie arrives

Perhaps her biggest role has been pack leader, as her calm, unflappable nature made her a natural leader with her canine family members. It’s a good thing she had things under control at the family home so that everything ran smoothly when the Bettendorf’s adopted a beautiful daughter from China, who joined the family at age two.

Maybe it was love at first sight, but Ruby and Sadie have been inseparable for the eight years since:

Ruby and Sadie     Ruby and Sadie today

Ruby and Pat

Pat Bettendorf and Ruby at a book signing.

Ruby then served as inspiration for Pat to take up the pen. She stars in two wonderfully entertaining and engaging books:
Ruby’s Tale and Ruby’s Road.

Ruby's Tale     Ruby's Road

Pat and Ruby have traversed many roads on the way to various book signings. Ruby sits – or more often, lies down or snoozes – on a table next to Pat during the signings. She is ever gentle, ever the poster child for rescues and pit bulls.

Ruby on the radio  Ruby and the gang  The family

Life has had its ups and downs for Ruby, just like for most everyone on the planet. Ruby underwent cancer surgery in 2009, which she pulled out of well with quality care. But Cushings Disease took its toll on the beloved pet, requiring some assistance for her hind legs, which she gets from a dog wheelchair. When Ruby got her Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair in the spring of 2016, Pat said,

“I still just can’t get over the dramatic – astounding – change in her life, especially her mental health. From depression to a vital, engaged member of the family again. Not to mention getting out and exploring the world., meeting and greeting people. To have a second chance at life!”

Ruby is now visiting people and doing her therapy work on wheels, inspiring people in yet another way with her courageous spirit and sweet outlook on life. Her ability to open people’s hearts and minds seems to have no bounds.

Ruby on wheels  Ruby's new therapy role  Ruby makes her rounds

One life. A dog’s life – a dog that was left to die in an abandoned house. She spreads love and good will, helps to educate and inspire, and comforts the sick and lonely. All this would have all been lost to the world had she not been rescued – and then cared for so lovingly by the Bettendorf family.

May Ruby’s life continue to sparkle for many more years to come.

Ruby's regal

For more information and photos about Ruby’s amazing life, visit:  or


Rescuing Dachshunds

Rescuing Special Needs Dachshunds, One Dog at a Time

How does a family wind up with 13 Dachshunds under one roof? Well, it happens with one rescue dog at a time. And it could never happen were it not for Carole Rowlette’s extremely large heart and the support of her husband David.

blind dogCarole lived much of her life as a nurse in California. She then retired and moved to Wyoming 10 years ago, where her sister and brother-in-law were living. Her background as a nurse is no surprise, given her natural inclination to nurture and tend to those in her care. Carole adopted many of her dogs from the Wyoming Dachshund Rescue. “They’re like little children; you love and protect them,” says Carole.

Yes, indeed, and she doesn’t just choose to love the ones that most people might think are easier to fall in love with. Carole rescues many Dachshunds with various types of special needs.

Take Lily. Carole and her family adopted Lily when she was three weeks old – born deaf and with bad vision. Now she’s five years old. “Lily sticks to me like glue,” says Carole.

One of her other dogs was born with one ear, another lost his eye to a cat. Another, a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix, was rescued after being hit by a car, fracturing her humerus and pelvis. “It was love at first sight,” Carole says matter of factly.

Dachshund in wheels

Three of her Dachshunds are in Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairs. “I’m a big advocate of these Walkin’ Wheels,” says Carole. “If the dog is injured and gets laser therapy and acupuncture in time, they can often walk again, because you take the pressure off the legs.”

She has seen real-life evidence of this on three occasions. Most recently, Carole had a foster dog in a Walkin’ Wheels. After exercising in the cart in addition to getting laser therapy and acupuncture, he was able to walk again. At that point he was given a forever home by another family.

With 13 dogs, most of whom have special needs, Carole certainly has her hands full. But she does it all with no complaint, making it seem natural to be so selfless and to take such good care of her canine family.

There is a financial cost as well. The average cost is about $1,000 a month for all the veterinary care that is required, but Carole doesn’t let anything compromise taking care of each dog as a beloved family member.

Long haired doxie in wheelsCarole and her husband sleep with nine of the dogs each night in their king-sized bed. The other four have their favorite sleeping spots elsewhere in the house. “We love every one of them,” says Carole.



7 Foods to Be Careful NOT to Feed Your Dog

There are few among us who haven’t been tempted to share “human” food with our pets. The important thing to remember is that just because something might be considered healthy for us (or not so healthy, but we eat it anyway), doesn’t mean those foods are safe for our furry friends. As a matter of fact, there are several fruits, vegetables and other food groups that are toxic for them. Following is a list of the top toxic “human” foods to avoiding feeding your dog(s).

educational-numbers-kids-posterSALTY FOODS

High amounts of salt can cause sodium ion poisoning, excessive urination, and thirst in pets. Indications that your pet has consumed too much salt include depression, diarrhea, vomiting, elevated body temperature, tremors, seizures, and even death. Avoid feeding pets salt-heavy snacks like pretzels, popcorn with salt, potato chips, etc.

UNDERCOOKED and/or RAW FOODS educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy - Copy - Copy (2)

Raw eggs and meat may contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella that’s harmful to both humans and pets. Raw eggs also contain an enzyme called avidin that is known to lessen the assimilation of the B vitamin biotin, which can cause coat and skin problems. You should also avoid giving your pet raw bones, because they can end up choking on them. Raw bones can even cause a deadly injury, because splinters of bone can end up getting lodged in and puncturing your dog’s digestive track.

educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy - CopyCHIVES, GARLIC, and ONIONS

These herbs and vegetables are known to cause gastrointestinal irritation, leading to red blood cell damage. Even though cats are more at risk, dogs are as well if they consume a large amount.

DAIRY educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy

Dairy-based products can upset the digestive system. Pets don’t have significant amounts of the enzyme lactase which breaks down the lactose in milk.

educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy - Copy - CopyCITRUS

All parts of citrus plants – the leaves, stems, peels, seeds, and the fruit itself contain citric acid which causes, not just irritation, but central nervous system depression if consumed in considerable amounts. Small amounts, like eating a little of the fruit, aren’t likely to cause major issues beyond a minor upset stomach.

NUTS educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy (2)

All nuts contain substantial amounts of fats and oils that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly pancreatitis in pets. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous for pets to eat, potentially causing tremors, vomiting, hyperthermia, weakness, and depression in dogs.

educational-numbers-kids-poster - Copy - Copy - Copy - CopyRAISINS and GRAPES

While the actual toxic substance in raisins and grapes is unknown, these fruits can lead to kidney failure and death in pets. Common early symptoms include vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, and lethargy.

If your pet has consumed any of the foods listed above, try to determine the amount ingested, and immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline:
(888) 426-4435

dog wearing food

Tera +

Dog Rescue Story That Will Make Your Day

Photos courtesy of Marshall Boprey

Tera, a 5-year-old German Shepherd, was rescued by BARRK Animal Rescue on Long Island, New York. Her former owners had dropped her at the shelter because her hind legs had given out. Tera was covered in ticks; the vet working on her took more than three hours to remove them. The shelter conjectured that her former owners kept her tied up outside and found her unable to stand up one day.

The shelter promptly had her checked by three different veterinarians in order to thoroughly assess Tera’s health options. They all came back with the same unfortunate diagnosis of cancer, covering 80-90% of her spine. Surgery was not an option because recovery would be too painful, and there was no guarantee that surgery would get rid of all the cancer. The vets gave her an estimated two to three months to live.


family photoThe folks at BARRK called Foster Dogs, Inc. (FosterDogsNYC) with the hope of enlisting Tera in their Fospice program so that she could live out her last days, however many there were, in a loving home.

FosterDogsNYC gave Allison Lind a call about this “special case.” Allison, her husband Matt, their rescue pup Frankie and cat Viper welcomed Tera with open arms, despite the fact that they were preparing to move to Seattle within a couple of months.

When Tera first came to their home, she didn’t understand what a dog bed was. The family would put her on a big, lush bed, and Tera would instantly pull herself off onto the hard floor. She also wouldn’t eat out of a dog bowl and would only eat off the ground. Tera clearly wasn’t used to being treated as a beloved family member.

Instead of flying to Seattle for their upcoming move as the family had originally planned, they opted to rent a large mini-van, outfitting the entire back with dog beds. They wanted to give Tera the cross-country adventure of her life! How about that?! Allison and Matt so fully demonstrate compassion – may the love they so freely give come back to them many times over!


IMG_9412 IMG_9431 Tera and river

The cross-country trip was indeed full of adventure, from staying in pup-friendly hotels (FosterDogsNYC even sponsored a night is a beautiful B&B on the river in Jackson Hole, WY); visiting the University of Notre Dame; seeing Old Faithful, buffalo, and caribou in Yellowstone National Park; getting VIP access to see Mt. Rushmore; chasing ducks in the Mississippi River; swimming in Montana (with a life jacket BARRK sent); nibbling grass overlooking the Teton Mountains; and meeting many, many dog lovers along the way who gave her more snuggles, hugs, and kisses than she’d had over the course of her lifetime (that is, until she met her new family!).

IMG_9625  Tera travel  IMG_9441


Now, Tera is living like a queen in the Seattle area. She lives by the water and wakes up every morning to seals swimming nearby and seagulls flying overhead. Tera gets to play in the grass, go swimming, and run with dogs around the yard. Allison reported that her plan is to spoil Tera with treats and love for every minute of every day that she has left.

“The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair was a huge part that changed Tera’s life for the better early on,” says Allison. “When she came to us, the only way to walk her was with a sling. But she’s a heavy girl (60+ pounds), so the sling was both arduous and awkward, and her walks were inevitably too short. (Even my strong husband was exhausted after a half block.) It was clear Tera didn’t understand why she couldn’t just go. 


Through our volunteer network, we found someone who had the perfect-sized Walkin’ Wheels for her to borrow until we could get a permanent chair. When we first put Tera in it, she took to it instantly, as if she’d been in it all along. We buckled her up, and she took off down the block. She had freedom again! It was easily the most heart-warming thing I’ve ever seen. She had lost her ability to be a dog and didn’t understand, but when she has her wheels, she lights up – she’s a happy dog again! She has new life because of her wheels.”


Tera & Frankie Tera in the city Tera on travel

Tera runs. She chases dogs down the beach at low tide. She is loved. Tera now knows the joy of living.


Thank you to people like Allison and Matt, and all the other amazing pet owners who rescue dogs and other animals who deserve a better life – who deserve a chance to experience the beauty of life that is possible when they are cared for and loved.


You can follow Tera and her family on Instagram @sheisquitefrank
Visit @fosterdogsnyc and @barrkli on Instagram to learn more about these excellent rescue organizations.

travelling with dogs

How to Really Enjoy Travel with Your Dog

When we travel with our pets, their safety and comfort is our top priority, especially when it comes to pets with disabilities. Many factors need to be considered, from mode of travel to campgrounds, hotels, pet friendly parks, beaches, necessary medications, and more. Oh, and don’t forget a trip to your vet to make sure that your pet is fit enough to handle the trip.

Here are a few tips for travelling with pets, including those with special needs:

Air Travel

dog-790853_640Pet safety and comfort is high on the list of priorities, especially when it comes to air travel. The fact is that millions of pets travel safely and comfortably every year on airplanes. Airlines today go above and beyond to ensure the care and safety of their passengers’ pets. Just be sure to have your veterinarian give you a health certificate for your pet in case health officials and/or the airlines ask for one.

Don’t Forget Medications

Same as you would with your own, remember to bring along any vital medications that have been prescribed for your pet. Keep them within easy reach, and bring them in your carry-on bag, if you can.

Make Pit Stops

Stress shows itself in different ways with animals, including developing a surplus of nervous energy. If you’re traveling with a dog(s), make frequent stops, especially during the early stages of your road trip. Let your pet burn off pent up energy and sniff around. This will help make him/her feel safe and curious instead of uprooted and scared. Making frequent pit stops helps develop a sense of comfort, making the trip a lot easier to deal with.

Finding Pet Friendly Accommodationsdog in hotel

Fortunately, the number of hotels and other accommodations that accept pets has grown, but it’s still a good idea to make arrangements ahead of time. If that’s not possible, at least have a good idea of where to stop along the way.

There’s No Place like Home

Pets definitely have a good idea of what home is, which means they also know what it smells like, which is comforting for them. Make a bed in the car or pet carrier using a blanket that smells like you and the family. This will help put your dog at ease, reducing the amount of stress experienced along the way.

Protectivpet bootse Travel Aidesdog seat belt

There are a number of products available that offer protection from weather extremes and changes in terrain that your pet’s paws may not be ready for. From pet boots to seat belts and specialized carriers that hold them safely in place, you’ll find what you need to ensure safe travels for your pet.

Consider a Prescription

Your veterinarian may want to prescribe something to make traveling easier for both you and your pet. You may want to consider this if your pet has a particularly hard time adjusting to travel.

With time, patience, and consideration, your pet will discover how fun travelling with you can be!

travelling with dogs

These Dogs Celebrate Independence Every Day!

As the United States celebrates independence during the month of July, celebrates the independence that Walkin’ Wheels gives to dogs all around the world. There are many, many reasons why dogs (and other pets) lose some or all of their mobility. It could merely be the consequence of growing older, when just like humans, there is some loss of function or flexibility as the body ages. In dogs, the hind legs often become weaker first.


weak hind legs

Chewy in Canada

Another reason that a dog’s legs may become less functional can be due to disease, which is more common among certain breeds than others. Of course, paralysis, loss of limbs, or other forms of significant mobility loss can be due to injuries, like being hit by vehicles, falling in an unfortunate way, or in very sad cases, due to abuse.

The good news is, whether due to the natural process of aging, or disease or injury, a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair can give years of high quality life to dogs — and restore their independence!

Normal aging — or an injury or illness — no longer has to be a reason to have a dog put down. A set of wheels can make a high quality of life possible for dogs and is a practical solution for pet owners.


Oscar Logo

Oscar in New York City strives to make Walkin’ Wheels dog carts affordable, but for those who may not be able to afford a new wheelchair,

The Walkin’ Wheels is now on sale — $50 off: 

This July 4th and every day . . .


wheels in water

Thor in Washington

Do You Need Help Lifting Your Dog?

Many dog owners need help lifting their dog! Some need help just in the back, some in the rear and front. Weakening legs are often simply part of the dog’s aging process. The Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness is designed to give pet owners the help they need to help their dogs!

The video above of Sam, a Basset Hound, shows him taking his first steps with the support of the rear Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness, Just Clip  & Go! It gives Sam the help he needs to be able to easily navigate, sniff around, and do all his favorite things.

Happy Customer

Ken Arsenault, Sam’s owner, says,

“We love it! It’s so much easier to get into. Just fantastic! There is no chafing now under his legs with this new design, and nothing gets in the way of him doing his business. When we go down stairs, it stays right where it’s supposed to be, and it clicks into the wheelchair really easily.”

Front, Rear, or Combo

The front and rear Walkin’ Lift Combo Harnesses can be purchased separately or together. If the harness is used as a combo, clips attach the front harness to the rear harness for extra security and comfort.

Rear Harness on WhiteFront Combo Harness

Special Features

If a dog’s legs begin to weaken to the point of needing a dog wheelchair, the Combo Harness just clips right into the Walkin’ Wheels. This makes it easier for the dog to adjust to the cart. It’s already used to wearing the harness and is comfortable in it. The Combo Harness also makes it easier for the pet owner because of the simplicity of clipping into the wheelchair, whether it is a rear wheelchair or a fully supportive (quad) wheelchair.

Combo Harness with rear cart

Combo Harness with rear Walkin’ Wheels

Combo Harness with Quad Cart

Combo Harness with Fully Supportive (Quad) Walkin’ Wheels








Mark Robinson, founder and president of, says,

“This is a product that revolutionizes care for aging dogs, because it provides top quality, carefully designed lifting assistance for the pet owner. The Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness makes it easy for the pet caretaker to lift the dog when and where it’s needed. It was designed with maximum comfort in mind for the dog. The feature that it can also clip into the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair is the icing on the cake! The Combo Harness will provide months to years of additional, high quality life for beloved canine family members!”

Walkin' Lift Combo Harness

Information on the Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness (on sale this month), including pricing and sizing information, may be found here:

Dog Seat Belts

Dog Safety Belts Save Lives!

Many people do not realize that vehicle safety includes buckling up the family dog. Now that summer is here, many people take to the road, including the family pet. The Walkin Front Safety Harness is a dog safety belt that can protect both the dog and other passengers in a car or truck.


Dogs can be a big distraction to the driver, and that is a serious safety issue to both pets and people in the vehicle! A dog safety belt prevents a dog from becoming a distraction by keeping the family pet safely and securely in its seat. It also prevents the dog from being thrown around the car or through vehicle windows if the vehicle comes to a sudden stop or is in an accident.

Gracie is a young Yorkie who was featured as a “Pet of the Week” earlier this year. She lost the use of her legs because she was thrown through a car window in an accident. Fortunately, the Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair allows her to have her mobility back, but Gracie’s injuries could have been avoided if she had been properly restrained in the car. (Read more of her story here:




Prevent accidents by keeping your pet safe and secure! The Walkin’ Front Safety Harness, which comes in three adjustable sizes, slips through the vehicle’s seat belt to safely and comfortably hold the dog onto the seat; it also doubles as a walking harness when out of the vehicle.


For more information about the Walkin’ Front Safety Harness, go here:

3b 3a

Watch a short video of how easy it is to use the Walkin’ Front Safety Harness:





Pool Safety for Dogs & Cats

Swimming Pool Safety Tips for Your Dog & Cat

As we begin summer fun, freelance writer and journalist Amber Kingsley shares these important pool safety tips with us, complete with graphics:

With rising temperatures come more threats to our pet’s safety and we need to be more diligent with their care during these warmer months. Just as we wouldn’t leave our kids unattended around the pool, we shouldn’t allow our pets to be unsupervised when they’re poolside.

Here are some safety tips for enjoying this wonderful weather when we’re swimming with our pets:

Along with watching for signs of heat stroke, monitor them for evidence of dehydration. One simple way to look for this dangerous condition is to check for elasticity in their skin. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently pinch their skin as it slightly pulls away. When you release it, the skin should quickly return to place. If there’s a delay, this is a sign of trouble and the animal needs water.

Signs of dehydration can be similar to evidence of heat stroke and also include:

– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Eyes that appear sunken
– An elevated heart rate

Although an animal could have an increase in their blood pressure and heart rate, they could also have a weak pulse. If you notice any of these conditions in your dog or cat, take them to the veterinarian immediately.



Unless we’re running around barefoot with them, sometimes we forget how hot these surfaces can become on a summer’s day.

For example, when it’s 95 degrees F outside, common pool surfaces like concrete and bricks can reach temperatures of up to 135 degrees F, which can easily cause burns to their sensitive paws.



Another thing we may overlook is the fact that they could become sunburned when spending too much time outdoors.

Dogs with shorter coats or lighter colored fur and skin are at increased risk from becoming sunburned.

If you’re having trouble finding canine-friendly sunblock, look at those options that are safe for children.

But beware of those that contain zinc, which can be harmful for pets if they ingest too much.

Installing a ramp is one way to ensure your pet can get out of the water safely, while they’re in the pool, for those that don’t swim well, you can always purchase them a life jacket.

For those who are completely comfortable in th4e water, you should still consider a harness so you can safely pluck them from the pool in case of an emergency.


In any event, if your pet enjoys the pool, be sure they know exactly how to get in and out of the water safely and never leave them alone when they’re poolside.

Follow these pet safety tips so that you and your pet can enjoy safe summer fun!