Rex was a rescue, I was asked to take him on about 4 months after I lost the last of my rescue GSD girls and was looking for a different breed, we had decided we would like a puppy instead of another rescue and were looking for something a bit smaller.
At that time Rex was just 7 years old and was ‘owned’ by a couple who had real problems. The wife had had a stroke about 6 years before was in a wheelchair and was unable to speak or do anything about the house, the husband, who had the care of his wife and Rex, was suffering from Alzheimer’s and had been for some time. Rex had been looking after himself for about 4 years, by going into the town and ‘shoplifting’.
When our local council introduced dog wardens they caught up with Rex much to the relief of the towns butchers. It appeared that the couple, unable to look after Rex, were letting him look after himself, he would spend the day doing as he liked and would come ‘home’ in the evening to sleep in the concrete coalbunker.
When we were told about him I said no, said I had done my share of having rescues with problems and this time I wanted to chose my breed and buy a puppy. And I was determined to stick to my guns. Then they brought Rex into our work place to ‘see’ me. Few hours later, bathed and flea sprayed; there he lay on a rug, feet on the hearth.
OK, never was very good at saying no and meaning it. He was lovely, clean in the house, biddable, very happy at his good luck and a joy to live with. Only problem was he thought I was his guardian angle if not God. And I spent at least a week weeping at the way he behaved when offered the smallest kindness or service. It was difficult to get him to eat from a bowl seemed to think it was human food and not for him, where as dustbins were fair game. And to be stroked or patted sent him into squirms of delight. He seem to think having his ears cleaned or his nail clipped the most wonderful of things that could possibly happen to a dog.
Having spent many years trying to sort maladjusted, nervous, badly bred GSD’s it was such a joy to have a super dog that was just so please to find people who liked his company. But the pleasure of having the company of such a dog was short lived because within a few weeks I noticed he was dragging his back feet. The vet said it was a degeneration of the spinal cords and that there was nothing that could be done. I could not believe that just when this dogs life had become worth living, I was going to have to put an end to it.
We struggled on for the next few months, first with bandages on his feet, then special boots...
We struggled on for the next few months, first with bandages on his feet, then special boots, then a towel under his belly with us supporting him until we could get him onto grass that would be kinder to his feet. We noticed in the house that unless we lifted him, although he could still stand and walk he preferred to pull himself along by his front legs. And all this time he was still delighted with his life and interested in all that was going on. So I went around the neighbourhood scrounging old duvets, cut them in half and sewed the together to make a duvet path from the back door to the lawn so he could get in and out with out hurting himself.
Someone then told me about the K9 cart, and I decided that in his case he deserved a bit more pleasure in his life so I wrote to the USA for details. We decided to go ahead and order it, we had to measure Rex and weight him and the cart was made to measure. I was very worried that he would not take to it and we would have wasted what was a considerable amount of money.
Despite my fears he took to it with joy and on his first outing had me running up the road behind him yelling heel. When we got to the river, which is where I walked the dogs, he was chasing squirrels, running up to people and doing all the things a normal dog would do. He had 3 more years living as far as he was concerned a normal active life. Whether I would do the same again I can’t say, different dogs, different circumstances, and different decisions.
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