Floyd the dog has gotten some extra special help from his owners to keep him mobile in his golden years.
His owners have ordered a wheelchair – which could also be described as something akin to a Roman chariot – to allow him to move around after his hind legs began to fail.
Floyd is owned by Kim Rapati and her partner Mike Low, who got what is believed to be the shepherd/Lab/husky cross from the Hay River SPCA as a puppy about 14 years ago.
Rapati said Floyd began having trouble with his back legs about six months ago, especially struggling to stand up.
She and her partner initially thought it may have been arthritis, which would not be unexpected in an older dog.
“But when it got bad, his legs really don’t have much muscle in them,” she noted. “And so we tried all kind of things – stretching them out and trying to give him little exercises and stuff like that.”
But then about two months ago things got worse.
“He kind of went downhill really quick,” said Rapati. “And, oh man, it hit Mike and I really hard, and instantly it’s like, ‘What can we do to help him out?’ Because you can tell it’s not fun for someone to not be able to get around at all.”
Before getting the wheelchair, Rapati said Low would just grab Floyd’s back haunches and lift him up to help him get around.
“So we were just trying to rig up our own kind of slings and things to hold up his back end,” she said. “Just none of them really worked that well and I thought there must be other people with this problem who have found other solutions. So we just Googled it.”
Rapati and Low then ordered the $400 wheelchair on Amazon from a company called Best Friend Mobility in the United States.
The company describes the product as a ‘dog mobility wheelchair’.
It arrived on April 24.
“Everyone is pretty surprised and interested in it,” Rapati said. “I kind of didn’t suspect that. But it is unusual, I guess.”
She said the wheelchair may help Floyd build back enough strength in his back legs so he will be able to walk short distances on his own again. In fact, she has noticed that he has a bit more mobility and can sometimes walk from one side of the house to the other without the wheelchair.
As Floyd uses the wheelchair, his back legs move as if he is walking normally, even though there is no weight on them.
“So that is the hope that he gets back some of his strength to do things on his own,” Rapati said. “But I think we’ll always have to use it if we’re trying to go for any type of walk.”
Rapati noted that Floyd is a very sweet dog and worth every bit of the effort and money to help him.