Travelling with your Disabled Dog

Eddie leads the way with Webster, Beau and Willa hiking across the field on vacation.

Life with disabled dogs does have its challenges, which are more than compensated for by the joys of  living with a beloved pet.  Eddie and I have three dogs in carts now – Willa and Webster, sibling chi-weiners born with missing front legs, and Beau, a pitbull with a crushed spine.  For the past few years we’ve been able to rent a small dog-friendly summer cabin on an island for our summer vacation.  Being able to bring the dogs with us makes everyone’s life easier.  They enjoy the vacation as much as we do – yay!! All play and NO work!

Certainly, though, some accommodations had to be made for the dogs.  We brought extra dog beds, washable pee pads (even though they are all continent, just the change could disrupt their routine, and we wanted to be prepared for accidents), enough dog food for 2 weeks, and our doggie first aid kit: nail clippers, bandages and vet wrap in case they cut their feet on the shells, flea and tick medicine, and Beau’s supplements.

We also brought the cart’s toolkits – allen wrenches and set screws, which came in handy when Willa’s new pink cart fell apart on our first hike. We’re human – just like our customers – we forgot to re-tighten all the set screws on Willa’s new cart and it fell apart  due to our negligence. Luckily, we had our toolkits on hand and put everything back to rights, and tightened up all the carts just to be on the safe side.

We took the dogs to the ocean for the first time. Willa was terrified of the vast expanse and big waves and immediately high-tailed back over the dunes to escape. Beau, Eddie and Webster walked on the hard packed sand, but this beach was fairly steep and quite challenging. Carts do fine on broad, hard-packed sand, but due to hurricane damage, the once flat beach where we go was no longer that easy for dogs in carts.

We made a makeshift ramp out of a piece of plywood found in the boathouse so that Willa and Webster could take themselves up and down off the deck of the house.  They loved hanging out on the deck with us, while we did the hard work of watching the sunset over the  pond.

Sunset over the Great Pond, West Tisbury MA