For the Love of Dog, I have never felt as judged as a dog owner as I have felt this week.
For those who don’t follow us on the Facebook (and why the woof not? Get over there and like me. I neeeeeeed to be liked.), last week, the Felix jumped down and tore his cruciate ligament. (For those who lack a veterinary degree and had to be shown in stick figures like I did, that’s the elasticy bit that keeps your knee in place and allows it to bend & flex. It’s kind of a big deal.)
We’re waiting to see the specialist on Tuesday, but until then, Fe is on a strict rest plan that only allows him 2-3 minute walks, 2 – 3 times a day.
I’m not going to lie. He’s mad as heck. I think that face really says it all. He’s not a fan of the Barney-mobile and to be honest, neither am I. I’ve always been a staunch supporter of letting dogs be dogs. I’m as woofing crazy as the next dog lover, but the Walk is a sacred doggy activity that provides not just much needed physical exercise, but also a ton of mental stimulation as well. Heck! We host a whole fitness event encouraging people to get out and get fit with their pet, so the idea of having a dog who rides in style sticks in my craw a bit. I’d feel a bit dorky even if it was the most stylish thing in the world, but that fact that it’s Tinkywinky purple only adds insult to injury.
I know what you’re thinking, “You bought the thing. Why did you buy such a stupid colour.”
Well, yeah. That’s fair. I totally could have hit up the local store and bought something hip and cool, maybe something like this snazzy model, but excuse me? Do I look like I’m made of money? Felix is staring down the barrel of a pricey surgery and buying an awesome off-roading pet stroller just wasn’t in the pocketbook. Fe wanted the high-end model that would drive the girls at the park wild. He got the cheap one I found second hand on Craigslist. Suck it up Fe. You’re turning into the Million-Dollar Dog. I should change your name to Bill.
I was totally prepared for my own judgey pants to be in a knot over this stroller, but I wasn’t prepared for the number of judgey people I would meet.
Um, excuse me, folks about the neighbourhood. You are no big deal. You don’t know me. So what the woof is that judgey stare about? The laughing smiles, the sneers and the off-the-cuff remarks are making me crazy. I’m half tempted to put a sign on the thing that says “Ask me about my torn ACL.” The thing is, I get it. I used to think dog stroller were the height of silliness. Why did they even EXIST?! This week has taught me so much and behalf of all the judgey pants out there:
Stroller peeps, we are sorry.
Turns out, there are some pretty legit reasons to use a dog stroller.
Felix’s bum knee is only the tip of the iceberg. As many judgey people as I have met this week, I’ve met an equal number of totally awesome dog people who shared their own stroller experiences with me. Here’s just a few of the ways a dog stroller can totally rock your world.
- They’re great for injuries. Without our stroller, I wouldn’t even be able to get Fe in & out of our building. Poor Koly would be housebound and going absolutely stir crazy. Can you imagine having an under stimulated puggle? It would be like slowly massaging your skin with 40 grit sandpaper.
- Got a dog with separation anxiety? A stroller can help. I had never even considered the impact it could have for a dog with separation anxiety. A stroller makes it possible for these dogs to be taken on errands, into stores and all sorts of places most dogs would be denied access. (The only place still off limits is food service locations.) I’ve also found that for Felix, his stroller is letting us test the limits of his anxiety more than the leash ever did. Yesterday, I parked him by the counter at our fav. pet store and walked nearly 6 ft. to a canned food display. If I had done that on a leash, he’d have lost his mind. He didn’t even seem to notice in the stroller.
- Keep elderly dogs active. Anyone who has had a senior pet knows how heartbreaking it is when you realize your dog is no longer capable of that walk. Help keep their head in the game by taking them for a stroll – even if they can’t walk far. Giving them the chance to explore different parts of the neighbourhood, even if they can only explore for a minute is well worth the effort.
- Walk blind pets with confidence. The cutest doxie in our neighbourhood has a stroller. What I didn’t know is that she’s newly blind and very insecure when she’s on leash. Taking the stroller gives her a safe place to retreat to when the stimulation is too much.
- Tackle crowd reactivity in a non-threatening way. Some dogs hate crowds. Putthing them in the stroller lifts them up out of the “stepped on” zone and lets them feel more secure. For Felix, this was a great way to test the theory that he actually loves a crowd, he just feels insecure in one. It’s also a great way to make an outing dog friendly without being one of those totally obnoxious leash octupus’. (You know the folks I mean, at the Farmers market with dogs pulling in every direction hogging up the walkways? I hate those people.)
For my part, I’ve resolved to be less judgey when I see people with strollers.
Who knows if they’re managing a tough medical or behaviour issue. I’m not going to judge until I’ve walked a mile in their shoes – or in their stroller, as the case may be≥
Except that blonde down the block. I’m still judging her.
She has no good reason for the stroller. I asked. “It’s just like, totally cute!”