Category Archives: Problems with Eddie”s Wheels

Moving out of the ALDF office tomorrow!

It has been nine weeks since Ali’s second surgery, which means we have been crashing at ALDF headquarters for two months (if you just tuned in, we are living in my office because my former apartment in San Francisco has stairs and we needed to be on the ground floor for Ali’s recovery). Strangely, living in my office has actually become comfortable. It just goes to show how adaptable we are, I guess! Ali has adjusted amazingly well to not having use of his back legs and I have adjusted to living at work in a hybrid office/dorm room the size of a shoebox. The thing is, at this point, living here is a known quantity, whereas my new place has all manner of exigencies and contingencies. There is a whole new routine we will have to create and then there is that ramp…I will have to saddle him up in his cart (a routine in itself to which we are both still adjusting) and use the ramp every single time we need to leave the house. No more sling-walking him outside to go to the bathroom (my back finally stopped hurting, so that actually became easier). I will have to start loading him in and out of the van (with another ramp) to go to work, and in and out of his cart every time we get in and out of the van. Then there is Seniorita (Rita, for short), my new roommate’s dog, whom Alec has not even met yet. This will be interesting!

I am trying not to completely freak out, but moving is always and inherently stressful. Throw in a paraplegic German shepherd with a brand new wheelchair and a new canine roommate and I imagine things can get real interesting real fast. There is also a park right across the street that appears to be a de facto off-leash dog park. It will be nice to have a big grassy area in such close proximity for Ali, but I am not sure how he will be about meeting other dogs in his wheels. He is usually fine at dog parks (as long as he is off leash), but I also need to be concerned with him not moving too much, so I’m not quite sure how this is going to be. My new neighbors also have two dogs who are outside a lot, so…lots of unknown factors, which are making me oddly reluctant to leave my cozy known quantity of an office/dorm room. We have a nice routine here that is working. But it is time to go. I can see how people become shut-ins, though, sort of. I am taking the day off tomorrow to make the move just so I can take my time with Ali and all this newness. Tonight though, I am going to pour myself a glass of wine and stop worrying.

Because I have been kvetching about Eddie’s Wheels all day and I am tired of it, just a quick update about Ali’s inability to urinate in the cart. Juli, the fabulous and amazing canine rehabilitation specialist, came by today and rigged a soft saddle on the part of the cart that was pinching his urethra. It seems to be working part of the time. I will know more soon. But it’s nice to know she is willing to help us. I don’t know what we’d do without her! Oh, and she let me know I am not the only person who has had problems with Leslie from Eddie’s Wheels. Apparently, another physical therapist she knows refuses to work with her because of her attitude. But she also told me that Eddie’s Wheels carts are the best on the market and far superior to other brands, in her opinion. So hopefully we can make this work for Ali. But if anyone stumbles on this who is considering a cart for your dog, beware the urethra-pinching saddle if you have a male dog! They won’t tell you about it beforehand but it can be a serious problem. I am afraid Ali may have developed another urinary tract infection from not being able to properly urinate those first couple days in the cart. So this is a serious flaw for which they should take responsibility and be compelled, from a purely ethical standpoint (unbridled capitalism not withstanding), to start disclosing. This not a chair or an ipod they are manufacturing; it is a wheelchair – a ticket to mobility, freedom, and life – for a living being whom somebody loves very, very, very, very, very much.

Photo: Ali in the ALDF kitchen today, before his mid-day stroll.
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Filed under Doggie Wheelchair, Problems with Eddie''s Wheels, Ramp, Relocating, Social Interaction

Hmm, not so “petit” after all…and completely disenchanted with Eddie’s Wheels.

Well, it looks like the “little problem” might be bigger than I thought. Leslie from Eddie’s Wheels unfortunately has been less than helpful. First she suggested I try “compressing” his bladder in the cart to get a stream flowing, since part of DM (degenerative myelopathy) is losing sphincter strength. I reminded her that Alec has IVDD, not DM, and explained that he has full bladder control and has not needed to be expressed in over a month. I also let her know that it’s basically impossible to express a dog who has control of his bladder muscles. I told her the only “accident” he had was the day after he got his cart because he was not able to urinate in it (despite the fact that I had no warning of this potentiality). And I said it was my understanding that dogs could urinate and defecate with no problem in these carts and that I would have considered different designs had I known this might be a problem. Finally, I let her know lifting his tail had worked a couple times, and not worked a couple times.

Her reply: “Most dogs can urinate with no problem in our carts, but a small percentage of males do have problems. I am sorry that your dog is one of them. Usually shifting the dog in the saddle solves the problem.”

Well, gee thanks! I only spent $500 on a cart that my poor dog, who has been through so danged much, can’t even urinate in (a serious problem given that a not-empty bladder virtually guarantees a urinary tract infection), which might be fine except for the fact that it says this on their website:

“Your pet can easily relieve itself and perform its normal bodily functions while in the cart.”

No mention of the “small percentage” of males who have problems, which of course would be helpful for customers to know before purchasing their cart, a rather expensive item. I can’t believe they would not even mention this “little problem” – a potential risk that the cart will pinch his urethra, thereby making it impossible for him to continue to urinate normally. And then act like it’s MY problem after they sell me the cart! Rrrrr. Yes, I am pissed off. Because Alec has had to deal with so much already and I really thought the people at this company actually cared about their clients’ companion animals. I guess once the sale is made, things change.

Luckily, Juli the rehab specialist is an angel and has been so helpful to us. She encouraged me not to return the cart – which they were only going to refund 2/3 the price of anyway…if I returned it in “new condition.” After paying shipping costs, I probably would have gotten $20 back. Not to mention no more walks for Alec until I ordered another cart and that we wouldn’t be able to move out of the office for several more weeks…ugh! Juli is convinced we can make it work and she even offered to come by tomorrow to see what she can do. We are so grateful for her. She is so much more helpful than the people who actually sold us the product. Thank you, Juli!! Tonight I shifted him around some and he was able to get a stream going, so maybe I will be able to fix this problem on my own. I hope so. No thanks to you, Eddie’s Wheels! I really hope they add a disclaimer to their website so other people will be aware of this potential problem before they put their dog in it.

Photo: A much happier moment right after the cart arrived, before I knew the thing would squish his urethra! Ali is enjoying a flying saucer filled with peanut butter, which successfully distracted him while we put him in the strange new contraption for the first time.

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Filed under Bladder Expression/Urination, Problems with Eddie''s Wheels

Un petit probleme.

Some things just sound better in French, n’est-ce pas? Anyway, after my exuberant post of last night, I realized we had a potentially serious problem. Alec had not been urinating well in the cart, and I thought he just “needed time” to adjust. Well, that was a bad call, as I noticed he had peed all over his bed, literally right after I posted about how great everything was with the cart. He has not had an “accident” in his bed in over a month, ever since he started going to the bathroom outside… I even took the wee wee pads off his bed last week (is the universe smiting me for letting my guard down?). So it was a giant mess and all over him too. I could tell he felt really bad, he didn’t want to go in his bed; his bladder was just full. And of course he was reacting to my distress. I didn’t get angry but I did almost start crying – it was just such a mess and I felt so bad! Not to mention confused. Why is he not going? He pooped fine so it’s not some psychological “I don’t want to go in this weird contraption” type thing. And I noticed he was going over to his usual spot and lifting his tail (which I have come to recognize as the bladder pump), but nothing was coming out. Juli said she never had a problem with a dog not urinating in the cart (of course!) and that maybe it needed adjusting. She suggested I call Leslie at Eddie’s Wheels for their advice. So I emailed Leslie photos today of Ali in the cart and she said it did look like a perfect fit, which I was happy to hear. But that means nothing to adjust in order to fix the problem. She said they “occasionally hear of male dogs who cannot urinate while in the cart. We suspect that their urethras are being pinched off by the way they fit in the saddle. The usual solution is for you to gently lift the dog’s rump – using the tail is ok -and see if he can urinate when you elevate his rump a little bit.” So I tried that this evening and the first time it didn’t work, but the next time it did… althought I don’t know if he was able to empty. I will keep trying. If this doesn’t work, I don’t think anyone has other suggestions… and he just has to be able to urinate in his cart.

The better news is that he is loving his wheels and enjoying his short walks outside. If only we can solve this little problem…

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Filed under Bladder Expression/Urination, Problems with Eddie''s Wheels