The Story Behind Wheels4Dogs
Our latest Guest Blog is by Julia Hatch, Founder of Wheels4Dogs, who tells the story of how she discovered walking aids for dogs with disabilities or dogs recovering from Veterinary treatment and enabled the aids to be easily available in the UK.
Any pet can have an accident, illness or have difficulty walking at any stage in their life. For some it is a degenerative condition, old age or an accident that means they begin to struggle. We wouldn’t dream of putting a human to sleep when they can’t walk and there are options for our pets. A wheelchair, accessories or other aid will help to get them mobile again, ready to play and get exercise for a more happy and healthy life. We’re not just talking about dogs. Cats, rabbits, lambs, pygmy goats and pigs and even a fox have benefitted from our products.
It was our German Shepherd, Heidi, that started our journey into this business. During a routine trip to the vets for vaccinations we were given the diagnosis of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) or Chronic Degenerative Radiculo Myelopathy (CDRM) to give its full name. Our vet told us that there was no treatment and that she would get steadily worse until she lost all use in her back legs.
We discussed this with our Vet, who had been doing her own research and that was when we found Walkin Wheels® in the USA. After an initial period of learning for both Heidi and us, we caused lots of amusement in the village when I was seen running down the road trying to keep up with a GSD determined to get down to the village green and beach as soon as possible. Walks were never the same again as people used to talk to us and give Heidi lots of fuss. Over time her fitness and strength developed until she could go for 2 and 3 mile walks and even canter along the beach. She got her freedom and independence back and we had two more years until a cancer finally took her from us.
Poppy has been given a new lease of life as a dog on wheels. Devoted owner Peter Austin feared his beloved pet would be put down after vets warned she would never walk again. However, the vet called with the good news that it was an infection, but the bad news was it had been caused by a leaky heart valve and that her kidneys were close to failure.
Amazingly she started to slowly recover and Peter and Christine were able to take her home, give her heart tablets and braced ourselves for the fact she may have only a couple of months to live. Now she is just getting stronger and can manage a mile walk with her wheels and even takes a few steps indoors with nothing to support her at all”.
Maria’s story has an horrific start. Abandoned as a puppy in a snow covered Romanian forest she was eventually found and taken to the city where a man had fenced an old car park to create a very basic shelter for some of the many street dogs. This was home to Maria and 20 other dogs for three years. One night two men broke in and Maria was shot twice, then beaten and kicked so cruelly that her spine was broken.
Maria had any surgery but it was too late to save her spine. She was returned to the car park with bullets still inside her, to recover as best she could. Brought to England, Maria is now going from strength to strength. It has taken a long time for her to learn to trust people again.
We are now the official UK importer and stockist of Walkin' Wheels® range and we know how it feels to have a disabled dog so please contact us if you think we may be able to help your dog.
You can contact Wheels4Dogs on 0800 072 3697 or visit their website at www.wheels4dogs.co.uk