So, it’s been just over a month since Felix jumped out of our garden and tore his ACL.
A month, eh? Am I the only one that feels like we’ve been dealing with this forever? Conservative Management has become the new normal at Casa de Kolchak, even though we’re a busy active family. Felix is on the mend. He’s up to 10-12 minute walks and you can’t even tell he has a limp. He’s off all anti-inflammatories, needs only occasional pain killers and I’m really very happy with his progressive. Still, we’ve had to get a tad creative with ourselves in order to keep everyone happy and safe.
One of the first solutions we adopted was a pet stroller for toting Felix around in.
Mama bought one used, on Craigslist and let me tell you, I was embarrassed. This thing was Barney purple, y’all. Just awful. However, the Barney-mobile had one very noticeable strength: it kept Felix off that leg.
The whole plan hit a snag though, when we noticed the wheels were getting a titch wobbly. They they got a lot woobly. The one threatened to just fall right off and that’s where thing got ugly. Our favourite pet store was kind enough to order us a new one, but when it came, it was smaller than we expected and there was just a piece of that stiff plastic holding the bottom flat. The whole thing was held together by velcro and it had that same flimsy wheel system on it. Those little plastic wheels might cut it for someone who uses it every now and again, but we walk a few hours a day! Nervous that we’d break a second stroller in as many weeks, Mama returned it and vowed to find something sturdier.
the Mama is cheap.
A decent pet stroller was going to set us back several hundred dollars and Mama said that would have to come out of our bully stick money. I was not impressed. A friend offered to lend Mama her baby stroller until Mama figured this whole dog stroller thing out.
Here’s a few tips that will help you turn your children’s stroller into a great pet stroller.
1. Make sure the back reclines all the way, so that the back lays flush to the seat. This part is soooooo important. If the back does recline all the way, your dog will be super uncomfortable. (Kol’s Note: At first, we thought our stroller did NOT recline all the way. Mama was able to remove a couple screws, detach part of the stroller cover and then it laid flat. SUCCESS!)
2. Choose a stroller with one of those fancy “5 point” restraint systems. It may look like over kill, but it has a huge benefit – the shoulder restraints can be easily clipped onto the back ring of a harness. Mama was able to remove the lap belt, move it forward 6″ or so and using to to create a “T” strap over the lap bar, keeping it on place and giving her a place to clip a carabiner to Felix’s collar. Having a restraint at the back and front has been essential for Felix, who would be more than happy to jump out.
3. The Lap Bar is an awkward pain in the butt, but it makes this much safer. Without it, I worry Felix would tumble out onto the road.
4. Choose one with “storage”. OK, this one might be completely optional, but I am LOVING all the extra carrying space! Poop bags, water, bowl, treats – the sky is the limit!
Mama might look like a real dork pushing that stroller around with Felix in it (and an ever BIGGER dork pushing it empty while he walks), but it’s been the key to our success.
Mama originally thought the human stroller would be a real pain, but she loves it a thousand times more than she liked the dog stroller. The human stroller is built much sturdier, the hand is super cushy and it steers like a dream. We love it.
And we’ll love getting rid of it when Felix is given the green light to walk as much as he wants.
Have you ever converted something that wasn’t meant to be used by dogs? Did it work?