Walkin’ Wheels Helping Sammy Move to the Next Chapter of Mobility Issues

Sammy

Sammy is my 17 year-old rescue (rescued me) Tibetan Terrier mix. He’s led a difficult life as a “practice fighting dog” before I brought him home with me. His former owners let him go before police arrived. He eluded everyone and was on the run for about a couple of months. When Sammy was finally captured, he was emaciated and full of fleas, ticks and open wounds. After the shelter’s assessment and treatments, he was supposed to be euthanized.

I happened to be there (I don’t know why, and everyone thought it was bad choice) and I asked if I could adopt him. Long story short… Sammy came home with me but had to be hospitalized the next day and after 2 weeks in intensive care, he came home again. Here we began the long road of rehabilitation and creating wonderful memories with his new life with me.

Sammy’s Journey

It took a good 3-4 years for Sammy to overcome some fears and aggressions he had but with a lot of work and patience, he blossomed into a beautiful caring pet. He’s never been one to jump, lick or get overexcited at the sight of me…just a gentle wag of his tail and nudge of his big nose was his way of letting me know he was happy and loved me.

Degenerative Mobility Loss

Sammy

Sammy’s been my outdoors buddy and everyone’s outdoors buddy. Over the past 7 years, Sammy has progressively grown slower with some hip and degenerative mobile issues. He never complains. He loves walking for miles (5-10 miles) several times a week, especially our evening walks through Waikiki and Diamond Head. We were nocturnal just because it was cooler at night. He also loved to ride the motorcycle. All I needed to do was grab his riding gear and he would plow through anything and everything in his way. Talk about the ultimate “head out the window” experience. Three years ago I purchased a large pet stroller, which then was the best investment. It allowed us to continue with our rigorous routine but also giving him needed relief without missing anything.

Developing Doggy Dementia

small dog quad wheelchair

The past 3 years have been the real challenge, Sammy also has “Doggy Dementia”. Along with his limited mobility, he now has limited eye sight and frequent bouts of anxiety and frustration, especially when he can’t get up on his own. The dementia behaviors, the crying and barking, are disheartening to watch. He no longer is independent. We didn’t like medication because it makes him loopy and sleepy. I couldn’t see him just sleeping the day away. This could not be the end.

I remembered my grandparents going to adult daycare, and how the interactions and activities kept the dementia at bay. The brain wasn’t deteriorating as fast. The first blessing, Sammy has been going to daycare for about 7 months and does not take any medication while he is there. Aside from the normal senior naps, he is active because of the loving people who work there. In addition to this wonderful place, Sammy has a new sister Bella, also from the shelter. Now they both have fun at doggy daycare. She is our second blessing. She is so protective of him and gives him comfort and assurance when he needs it.

Tibetan Terrier Regains Mobility in Walkin’ Wheels

Sammy’s third blessing is his Walkin’ Wheels. For a dog who loves to walk and run, it was heartbreaking to see him struggle just to get up and have difficulty relieving himself. The Walkin’ Wheels may look too big for him, but we think it fits him perfectly. Once hooked up, he just took off! I needed to guide him because he would run recklessly up and off the street curbs. (He needs the heavier and larger wheels and perhaps a roll bar to keep him grounded.) The padded chin bar is perfect for him to rest his head. I also padded the left corner because he has that dementia equilibrium tilt of the head that makes him circle to the left. To help him stay on the straight and narrow, I hook a leash in the right corner. Now, NO NEED FOR MEDICATION! When the dementia started to creep up, he would signal that he wanted to go walking. That’s all he needed. The boost of exercise his wheels gives him, probably gives his brain the needed adrenaline and dopamine.

A few days ago, I ordered him the Front Wheel Attachment (which made the chair a quad), because we’re moving into the next chapter of mobility issues. Sammy’s front limbs are getting weaker and I’m having to support most of his weight on our routine walks. Yesterday, we didn’t even need a practice run. He was so happy to show off his new Walkin’ Wheels. Here are some pics we wanted to share with you as proof that his Walkin’ Wheels were a blessing.

– Lori, Sammy, and Bella

Tibetan Terrier Mobility Problems

Tibetan Terriers are generally healthy dogs, their average lifespan is between 12 to 15 years. Here are a few of the more common health issues that can impact a dog’s mobility:

  • Hip Dysplasia – a hip joint condition that can be painful and progresses as the terrier ages. Dogs with advanced cases of hip dysplasia may no be able to walk or struggle to stand for long periods of time without assistance.
  • Neuronal Cerois Lipofuscinosis (NCL) – a term that is used for a range of progressive and degenerative conditions. NCL can cause anxiety, aggression, tremors, and a loss of coordination in Tibetan Terriers.
  • Patellar Luxation – although less common, Tibetan Terriers are at risk for a patellar luxation which causes their kneecap to slip out of place.

Other health issues in Tibetan Terriers include vision loss from progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, and thyroid issues.

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