Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Doggy Wheelchairs

The visit last week from our friend in the wheelchair and the process of Daisy becoming familiar and comfortable with it made me think about dogs who need “wheelchairs”. We’ve all seen them – those amazing videos of dogs missing their hind or front legs and using little wheelchair-like devices to get around. We always marvel at how at ease and agile these pups are with their new appendages, but Daisy’s adjustment to my friend’s wheelchair made me realize that there must be a learning curve.

I mean, dogs aren’t just born with an innate ability to romp around with wheels attached to them any more than humans are. But, like humans, dogs are adaptable and resilient. The question is – how do we help them through their adjustment period?

I'm so glad there are wheelchairs for my fellow doggies who need them!

There’s a wonderful article in The Daily Puppy about just that. It also discusses other issues, like the fact that not all wheelchairs are right for every dog and other reasons besides missing limbs that may cause the need for a doggy wheelchair, like back problems, paralysis, and leg problems. Sometimes dogs only need a wheelchair for a short period of time, like during rehabilitation after an accident or surgery.

I found it surprising that dog wheelchairs didn’t began being sold commercially until the 1990’s. Before that, dog owners with lame dogs either had them euthanized or built their own wheelchairs to keep the dog from dragging itself around, which caused injury and infection. But with a wheelchair, dogs can continue to function and live normal lives, participating in many of the activities they’ve always known. In fact, some dogs even enter races, just like wheelchair-bound humans do!

It’s important not to just hook a dog up to the first wheelchair (sometimes called “dog carts” too) you find. The wheelchair needs to suit the dog in size, fit, and comfort. There are plenty of places to find doggy wheelchairs, including lots that are made right here in the USA, such as at Dogs To Go, Wheelchairs For Dogs, and K-9 Cart.
There’s also a blog about how one person built their own dog’s wheelchair so you can create your own if you’re so inclined.

There’s even a book about a dog named Shorty and his wheelchair! Check it out at Shorty Stories: A Story about a Dog and Her Famous Wheels.


Shiatsu for Dogs… and Other Animals

I'm ready for my massage now....

Years ago I went to a hair stylist whose hair washer had studied shiatsu. During and after the shampooing, he did shiatsu massage on clients’ scalps, and I can tell you it was one of the most wonderful, amazingly relaxing things I’ve ever experienced. My stylist could have given me a Dutch boy haircut for all I cared, I’d still have gone back again and again just for the scalp massage.

The other day, as I was cradling Daisy on my lap and watching her eyes close as I stroked her little head, it brought to mind those incredibly calming days at that hair stylist. I began thinking that it would make sense to be able to do shiatsu on dogs (and other “pettable” pets in general), so I checked it out online.

Success! The animal health care experts are streaks ahead of me. I found books and information on shiatsu for large and small animals, as well as a school that specializes in animal massage – the Northwest School of Animal Massage (www.nwsam.com). By going to their “Links” page, you can use the drop-down menu to find graduate practitioners in your US state or Canadian province (and a couple other countries as well). Apparently massage is great for animal rehabilitation, service dogs, athletic dogs, horses, etc.

They even offer distance learning so you can perform massage correctly on animals in your own home or become certified in animal massage! If you just want to do a hands-on quick-learn, there are a few books: Shiatsu for Dogs; Canine Massage;The Healing Touch for Dogs; Dog Massage: A Whiskers to Tail Guide, and a few more.

There are even YouTube videos showing how to perform Shiatsu on dogs – you’ve never seen such a relaxed bulldog! Just Google Shiatsu for Dogs and you’ll find them all. Very cool!

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