The best part of working at Eddie’s Wheels is meeting those customers who travel to come here for us to meet, evaluate and measure their pets. IWe see an average of a dozen disabled pets every week at our facility. Shelburne Falls, our hometown, is a charming New England hilltown, nestled along the banks of the Deerfield River, 2 hours from Boston, 3 hours from New York City, and on the way to Vermont skiing. It boasts of being among the top 100 best arts and crafts destinations in the country, with many fine art and craft galleries featuring the work of nationally known artisans. We’ve also got some great restaurants. Located right along the historic Mohawk Trail, a scenic by-way, we’re actually seeing folks who plan their weekend get-aways around a visit to Eddie’s Wheels.
But the main reason they’re coming is for us to personally meet, measure and try-out their pets in a dog (or cat or bunny) wheelchair. Because we meet so many of our clients and care for our own disabled dogs, we have a wealth of experience to share to help them cope with the challenges of caring for their pet. No matter how disabled their pet is, there is some fear and skepticism that their pet might be the one who totally rejects using a cart.
A complete Eddie’s Wheels visit may include an evaluation, measurement and try-out in an existing cart – as we keep a stock of typical sized carts here for pets to try out. Many folks book an appointment with Carole Groman, our resident animal massage therapist, who offers a teaching session with an informational packet, so that pet owners can continue to massage their pets at home. As you can imagine, any animal with a disability is compensating for it, and massage helps to keep pets comfortable. Massaging your pet also provides the owner with important information about the progress of the pets’s physical condition.
Caring for a disabled pet creates a new and deeper connection and intimacy with your animal. While the cart does restore your pet’s sense of independence, it also re-enforces the bonds it has with its caregiver.
Recently a couple drove 4 hours from northwestern New Jersey to have us meet their dachshund, Toshi. She had had surgery 3 months previous and still had the “zipper” down her spine. She had reflexes, but no purposeful movement in her rear legs and was unable to stand on her own. Their neurologist was against them getting a cart, and they were unwilling to pay hundreds of dollars a month for hydrotherapy. Their online research had convinced them that an Eddie’s Wheels cart would provide them and their dog with a better quality of life.
They booked lodging at our friend Pat Butterfield’s dog friendly B&B, Cavalier Cottage, and made an appointment for a massage with Carole. Since we know that many dachshunds who are prone to spinal injuries are roughly the same size as our old mascot, Daisy, we keep a couple of new dachshund carts in stock. Toshi fit one of these carts like it was custombuilt just for her. She was taking off in it before we could buckle the chest strap. We suspended her lifeless legs on the rolling stirrups and noticed some small reflexive motion in her rear legs – not an uncommon phenomenon. After her massage we put her back in her cart ,and before long, saw her begin to purposefully use one of her rear legs to aid in her propulsion. Everyone was ecstatic! Watch Toshi go!