When Annie, 12, was diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular condition that affected her hind legs, her active pack (two humans and two other dogs) weren’t about to leave her behind!
Shauna and Eddie Hanisch-Kirkbride’s got her a dog wheelchair so they could still all go on walks and hikes together and she’s now as active as ever with her fur siblings, Joey and Dylan.
“We’re always active with our dogs,” Shauna told MLive. The Sanford, MI, family walks together every day and the dogs always come along on hikes and vacations.
Over the past year, Shauna noticed that Annie had begun to drag her hind legs. In the house, she could manage, but walking around outside was a different story — much more challenging.
She was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, a progressive disease of the spinal cord that affects senior dogs similarly to the way Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease affects humans.
They did their due diligence in research and six months ago bought a Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair, which holds Annie’s hind legs in a sling, allowing her front legs to do the work.
“Having her with us on vacations and walks has kept her from getting depressed,” said Shauna, who says Annie can’t move around the house much anymore now that the condition has progressed. “We modified the wheelchair with knobby tires because we’re so active…. We get stopped a lot by people who want to know where we got the wheelchair.”
She encourages people to go to the website HandicappedPets to see products that can help aging and disabled pets still be active family members.
As the family walked the Rail Trail in Sanford, MI, on a recent wintry day, a small possum crossed up ahead of the pack. Annie, ran towards it pulling their owners with them.
“You can see she can still move pretty well for an old girl,” said Shauna.