Sadly, my baby Cayman passed away Saturday afternoon 2.19.2011. I would still be thrilled to share photos of my boy using his wheels with the hopes that others will see how wonderful and successful their pets can be if given the chance.
Two years ago after noticing a limp, I took Cayman to the vet who in turn said the limp must be arthritis. The first year I took him back and forth to the vet insisting it couldn't be arthritis because he wasn't demonstrating any discomfort just an inability to use his rear limps with full force. Getting nowhere, I took Cayman to another local vet. With one look, he immediately said it was D.M.-AKA Degenerative Myelopathy. The outlook wasn't good. To ensure it wasn't a spine injury, we saw yet another specialist who confirmed it was D.M.
After much homework on the illness it was clear there was no cure, but with patience and love the human companion could do many things to help as the disability progressed. Cayman went on a great health food diet, full of yummy apples, pears and raw meats. He was thrilled with that side of things for sure. We did vitamin supplements, even swim therapy. Oddly, even though he was slowly losing the ability to use both rear legs, he could swim like a champ.
Around May 2010 is when I found a front/rear harness that allowed me to help him around the house and to support him while he did his 'business' outside. That worked well, but we knew it was only a temporary fix. We clearly needed more support for him. August 2010 is when we found the HandicappedPets.com site and saw Walkin' Wheels for the first time. We were moved to tears to see how others were coping with disabilities and having such success.
Needless to say, we ordered Cayman's Walkin' Wheels. It arrived Sept 8, 2010 and took about 10 minutes to unpack and set it up. To make sure I had it right before I put him in in, I went back to Handicappedpets.com and watched the video confirming I had things set up correctly. By the way, thank you for having the easy to follow video.
Using his daily harness, we moved outside and I slipped him in the cushy support system and propped up his rear paws and slowly he began to move. It was beyond words to see Cayman move on his own again. As Cayman began to learn how to support himself on the front legs and he had to readjust how he walked- it was nothing short of a miracle. Being two-legged, I never thought about how a dog uses his rear legs to propel themselves forward and the front legs actually do the braking. It would stand to reason that once on wheels, Cayman was using his front legs to 'Brake' movement and therefore moving backwards. It wasn't long before the Cayman caught on that he had to use the front legs to balance between both functions.
Admittedly I was hesitant to get Walkin' Wheels but not for reasons one might think. I was hesitant to admit my dog would never walk again -much like we would think about ourselves. I had to get past it and do what was best for Cayman.
I would encourage anyone having a dog with a disability to buy Walkin' Wheels. Seriously - Cayman used it Daily for 6 full months and if anyone is scared of the price tag, don't be. If it helps to break it down, then do it. Cayman walked using his Walkin' Wheels for about $2.80 a day, less than a cup of coffee!
We appreciate the service received from the staff at HandicappedPets.com. Thank you so much. We proudly share these pictures of Cayman enjoying freedom of movement.
Suzanne Bly & Serafin Ortiz (proud & loving parents of Cayman)