Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Ramp Is Here!

After months - no, years - of grappling with the decision about whether to order a vehicle ramp, here it is! Lucky is getting older (11 now, if the shelter's estimate of "4 years" was correct back in 2004), and the new truck bed is even higher than the last one. He's still jumping with no difficulty, although I usually help him get a running start. But the height makes me nervous. More than one dog owning friend has had to deal with the dreaded "torn ACL" injury, and I know we don't want to go there.

I never needed a vehicle ramp for Jessie in her elder years, although I did build a handicap ramp for the front porch. I was so proud of that ramp. I'm not exactly what you'd call the "handy" type, but I couldn't stand to watch her struggle with the 3 or 4 steps to the front door. Covered with indoor/outdoor carpet, that ramp worked like a charm, and I could tell she appreciated it. Accessibility was never an issue with the car, however. The Subaru wagon I had then was fairly low anyway, and Jessie developed a method of putting her front paws on the threshold and waiting for me to gently lift her back end up into the hatch area.

But Lucky would never do that. If I tried to teach him such a thing, he'd be convinced I was trying to kill him. Different dog. So, we've almost ordered the ramp a dozen times, but always stopped short. Would it be worth the cost? Would it be too heavy and unwieldy to be practical? Would he even use it if we got it? This is a dog that approaches every new experience with suspicion and dread.

Finally though, we took the plunge and ordered the XL heavy duty ramp from Foster and Smith. When it comes right down to it, what's $150 compared to the cost of orthopedic surgery? A little dose of prevention just seemed worth the gamble.

So finally, the big moment was at hand. I was surprised how easy it was to handle, and pleased with the wide, non-skid surface. Not surprisingly, Lady scrambled right up the ramp with just a little encouragement. Lucky...well, we got him up, but it took some doing.

Here you can see Lady eagerly awaiting the next bit of adventure ("shall I came down now? would you like me to come down?"), and Lucky huddled in the farthest recesses of the truck, hoping we'll forget he's there.

So, a little practice was in order.

When facing any challenge, it's important to have the right mindset. For Lucky, this involves shifting his mindset from "this is a horrible experience that's going to kill me" to "oh boy, this is fun!" Lots of smiles, clapping and happy voices are involved. Come on Lucky, you can do it!

Yaaaaaaaaaay!!! Good boy!!! Yaaaaay!! 

All ready for the next adventure!! A bit safer now for the old guy.


  1. You are such a great fur-kid-mom -- I just have to give you a (((BIGHUG))). And how great that Lady was easy and Lucky took to it pretty quickly after some encouragement. Awesome.

  2. I got a ramp to get in bed. BOL. Ramps are cool
    Benny (& Lily)

  3. That is a good perspective; $150 for a ramp, or expensive surgery. I love the coaching coming from inside the car.

  4. Smart move! I ended up with back surgery after helping (lifting) a 150 pound mastiff into my jeep.

  5. My husband has been in the process of making my smaller dogs stairs for the past 5 years. *snort* The big dogs are young and able, but the Beagle is getting on in her age and has a hard time getting on and off furniture. And my Miniature Dachshund can't reach anything to begin with, but I worry about her aggravating her disks when she jumps down. Maybe I *should* just buy a set!

  6. Oh Vicki!! Goodness, I didn't even think about protecting my own back. Yikes.

    And Jenner - I'm pretty sure I saw stairs - in addition to ramps - on the Foster and Smith website, you should check it out. The kicker for me was when I discovered that they've implemented "no shipping fees" for 2011. That was what tipped the scale. I'd never ordered from this company before, but am VERY happy!

    Thanks Darla! :)