Family won’t let financial hardships stop them from saving their dog

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The Lukens family has fallen on hard time financially. One thing they won’t give up on despite their financial burdens is there dog Charlee.

Charlee has been with the Lukens family for 13 years and this summer she started having trouble putting weight on her back legs. It was also at this time that Brian Lukens lost his job and his wife Vicky started working two part-time jobs to try to make ends meet. Eventually though the family had to short sale their home they’d lived in for 22 years in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. The couple even had to file for bankruptcy.

A former neighbor helped the family pay for several visits to the veterinarian, but the news wasn’t good. The vet told the Lukens it might be time to put Charlee down. The Lukens weren’t ready to give up on Charlee though. “She’s still our baby,” said Brian. “I couldn’t see being here without her. As long as she’s not in pain, and she can get up and do her business, I don’t see any point in putting her down.”

Charlee was doing well through mid-November, and then she was having trouble getting up. Brian and his son Robert went to the vet who said it might be time to consider putting her down, and both men cried like babies. Brian was determined to find a way to make things better for Charlee.

A friend suggested Brian look into a doggy walker. After looking online Brian found the walkers were too expensive for him to buy, but thought he might be able to build one. Using PVC pipe, an axle and wheels from his neighbor’s old grill, an old sheet, and a strap from a cooler and a harness Brian put together a doggy walker. “It’s nothing fancy, but it works,” said Brian.

Toby Folks, the Lukenses’ old neighbor who has helped with vet bills, can’t believe the difference the walker has made for Charlee. “When I went to see her, I just fell apart,” she said. “It was wonderful to see this dog walk.” The Lukenses’ new neighbor Tracy Gist is just as impressed, especially at how much every member of the family loves Charlee. The walker Gist says demonstrates that, “It’s ingenuity and love for the animal.”

7 thoughts on “Family won’t let financial hardships stop them from saving their dog”

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. It shows there is still caring people in this world!I have a shitzu/peek mix who is 11yrs old. He started having the same problems as Charlee, Unfortunately my baby started dragging his hind legs. The Vet prescribed some arthritis medication, But He said if it did not work we should put Chewbucca down because it would not be fair to the dog not to be able to walk. I felt the same as the Lukens, he is a very important part of the family!! There just had to be another way. I found a natural supplement , Recovery SA which has helped with the the arthritic damage and relieves the pain as well as. He is like his old self again and can move around if he wants to. So many people have accused me of being selfish and not fair to Chewie. I believe the only thing that he misses is his daily walks. I do have to carry him out to do his busness( pee and poo). I have looked at the back end wheels but just as the Lukens I am not able to purchase one. Because of the article, I’ll try and see if my son can help to make one. It looked too complicated on the website. Plus it has helped me on my decision of not putting Chewie down. Sorry for rambling! Thank you again

  2. This made me tear up. There are several manufacturers of doggie wheelchairs in the states, one of them in my state, and I wonder if they would be able to build a sturdy set for Charlee pro-bono. Worth a try.

  3. And there’s a good income for you sir, LOTS of dogs need those wheels and even more people can’t afford them. Perhaps you could build wheels that costs a little less so other people can help their dogs too. You can do it.

  4. Maybe the Schoep foundation can help! Look under Schoep and John on Facebook. Way to go though for making something work for now!! Good old American ingenuity.


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