AP here: Today Tonka and I traveled to Oxford, Maryland to K-9 carts east. It does not appear that Tonka is going to be back to blippity blopping on his own anytime soon. When all this first started people immediately started talking about having Tonka in a stroller or a wheelchair. My initial reaction was "NO WAY" the logistics of a 130lb blind dog in a cart seemed impossible and honestly I felt like even thinking that would be giving up hope that he would return to normal. The reality of the day to day dealing with my boy and his multiple disabilities has reminded me that:
1. there is no such thing as normal
2. if there was a normal he never has nor will he ever fit the criteria
3. he needs to be mobile for his emotional and physical well being.
4. It has been 3 months and several specialists and no one seems to be able to find the problem let alone fix it
So after hours of research on the Internet and talking to several people and companies I still have no clue what will work for him. It is hard to research them because when you think you know something is good about one model another manufacturer goes to great lengths to tell why it is not. It appears to be a very competitive and cut throat market. Since I have no experience with carts and being the type A that I am I need to make sure that he absolutely needs a cart and it is the right cart for him. Unfortunately there is no dog cart store where you can go and test drive different models but there is a company within an 2 hour drive that has been making carts for over 40 years so off to Oxford we went.
The company K-9 carts East is operated by retired orthopedic veterinary surgeon, Dr. Lincoln Parkes. Each cart is individually made based on specific measurements and the website walks you through how to take them or you can make an appointment to visit and they will take them for you. We met with Dr. Parkes and he watched Tonka limp around and we discussed Tonka's varied medical background. His staff took his measurements and showed me how the carts are made, they did not have any quite his size but I did get an idea of how big it is going to be.
If all goes well we can go back in a week and he can try it out and they will tweak it to meet his needs. I am still not 100% sure how I feel about my boy in a cart and I feel like I have failed him with this problem. This has been the first thing that I have not been able to fix for him and it breaks my heart on a daily basis. Perhaps when he gets mobile again things will turn around.
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