Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ramping Up for a Geriatric Dog

Our black lab Dylan is 13-1/2 – the equivalent of about 95 in human years. He doesn’t see or hear well. He has been having increasing difficulty going up and down the 7 stairs to our back yard. So today I decided to make him a ramp.

This is somewhat reminiscent of the heated dog house we designed as part of our renovation in 1999. That was when we were both still working and the dogs were outside during the day. What better way to avoid the cold and snow that to be snugly inside a heated enclosure with a swinging door. Try as we could, they would never go into the doghouse. The switch to turn the heat on and off has forever remained off.

So given that experience I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in materials for a ramp. My idea was to nail substantial plywood to two supporting pieces of wood and cover the whole thing with indoor/outdoor carpeting to provide friction.

I’m actually pretty good at constructing things, having learned a lot when I was 10 and a friend and I made a dollhouse that took up half my room. So I measured and hammered and stapled and finished it off with the essential duct tape. I installed the ramp over the 7 steps.

The moment of truth had arrived. Would he use it? Dan’s first attempt to coax him down was unsuccessful. Meanwhile Jake got his kong stuck underneath.

Dan put a leash on Dylan and he reluctantly went down.

At this point I’m not convinced he will use the ramp. I’m congratulating myself on spending only $5 on scrap wood at Home Depot. I’ve now turned over responsibility for any “redesign” to the men in my family who were only too happy to offer up their suggestions for improvement. I’ve exhausted my ideas on ramp-building, at least for today.


Anonymous David said...

A valiant effort, but I'm afraid the old adage applies only too well to Dylan - you just can't teach an old dog new tricks.

10:17 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

You just never know. Once he realizes that it is much easier to use the ramp he may surprise you.

Besides David, I'm sure Barbara has taught you a few new tricks of late.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

It takes animals awhile to get used to new options. I bet Dylan has never used a ramp before, right? So he must be so bewildered by the idea.

It took us about 3 weeks to get Jake used to the dog door (when I lived in Takoma Park). He adjusted, of course. After awhile, he would go flying in and out, fearless. Just give poor Dylan a little time.

Nice pics. Did you take them with your phone?

8:49 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You get an "A" for effort, even if he doesn't use it, and you never know.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I agree with Reya, he needs time to adjust and get used to it.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I know how much my cats hate change so I think he'll use it in time. What we do for our beloved pets!

8:44 PM  

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