They say there’s nothing sweeter than the love of an old dog, and we’re finding out just how true that is. With Buster turning 10 in May and Ty’s 13th birthday just around the corner, we’re doubly blessed. And, as hard as it is to watch their youth slipping away, it’s an honor to care for our boys as they age.
Years ago we recognized that traveling with our senior dogs would require us to adjust for their changing needs. Planning shorter walks, choosing flatter hikes, and making sure they got a day or two of rest between outings are some of the small modifications we’ve made over the years to keep Ty and Buster comfortable and happy.
At some point, though, the small changes aren’t enough and you have to decide if you’re going to make some major modifications to your lifestyle or opt for an investment that will allow your dog to continue to enjoy your adventures. That moment arrived for us this spring when Ty wasn’t able to match his brother’s speed and endurance on walks.
At the time, we were only a couple of months into the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, and we had some big adventures lined up that none of us wanted to miss! Even with his mobility challenges, it was clear that Ty still enjoyed being out and about – so it was up to us to find a way to make that happen.
The reason Ty is moving more slowly could be due to diminished vision – being cautious is a good idea when you’re not able to see obstacles in the path. It might also be that he has some discomfort from arthritis, despite the medication and supplements he’s taking to provide relief. Or it could be both or neither of these reasons – unfortunately, he can’t tell us. But regardless of the cause, it became clear a few months ago that keeping up our normal pace wasn’t going to be possible if we didn’t find a way to accommodate Ty.
We considered all the options – except leaving him behind … that was never an alternative – and decided that a pet stroller was the best solution for us. After consulting family and friends to get their input on the ins-and-outs of strollers, we chose the Turbo Pet Jogger from ibiyaya.
The long wheel base and rubber tires allow this stroller to go everywhere we want to take it. A few weeks ago we even pushed it to the top of Seneca Rocks in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest! It’s sturdy, but not too heavy for me to lift into our rooftop cargo carrier, and it has a basket underneath to carry the dogs’ water bottles and collapsable bowl. At about 30 pounds, Ty just fits in the bed, and the zippered panel on the front gives him a little more room to stretch his paws when he lays down. The design makes it comfortable for me (at 5 feet, 2 inches) to push – I’m not bending over putting stress on my lower back or hitting my shins on the bar that sets the brake. And the rubberized handlebar and beverage tray are added touches that we appreciate.
My only complaint is that when Ty is sitting at the back of the bed, the stroller feels like it might tip backwards. Fortunately, he prefers to lay down when he’s riding, so it hasn’t been much of an issue. Assembly was easy, but we needed to fill the tires before we could use it and on occasion since then. Most people probably have a bicycle tire pump, but we didn’t. Luckily, we found a mini bike pump that works well and stows in the cargo carrier with the stroller.
Getting Ty acclimated to his new wheels took no time at all! The stroller has two short straps with clips that attach perfectly to his No Pull Freedom Harness from 2 Hounds Design and keep him from jumping or falling out. With his well-earned reputation as a couch potato, Ty quickly came to the conclusion that having a stroller was the best thing that ever happened to him and settled in to enjoy the rides.
We’ve put a lot of miles on Ty’s stroller since it arrived in mid-April. From the Florida beach, to Acadia National Park in Maine, it’s made all the difference for us! We’re no longer trying to guess how far Ty will be comfortable walking before we take off on a trail or set out to explore a city. Ty simply walks until he’s tired, then we put him in the stroller and continue on.
At first I felt a little ridiculous, pushing our dog around in a stroller, but it’s allowing us to continue enjoying the sights together, and Ty’s so happy. He loves going out for walks now – probably more than he did when he was actually walking – and we’re constantly getting comments about how cute he is in his stroller. Given the distance his little legs have covered over the past 12+ years, he’s earned the right to ride in style.