Showing posts with label dog stroller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dog stroller. Show all posts

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quality of Life Reviewed

How Finn and I View Quality of Life
I have been thinking a lot lately about quality of life—in particular, how you help others live it a few moments at a time.  When you are training a therapy dog for this work, it's natural to reflect on what makes a life more joyous and pleasurable.

I care about both sides of the equation—what brings light into the lives of those whom we visit and what switches it on for the light-bearers.  I am deeply committed to keeping Finn's light shining brightly in ways that take into consideration his overall health, happiness, and well-being.

These days, I find myself spending differently.  It may seem to those who see Finn being carted around in a new dog stroller or trailer that he is being coddled.  In fact, strangers who cross our path often remark that my dog is spoiled.

Finn Teaches Me To Pay Attention To Everything
Isn't that a funny word—spoiled—especially when applied to an animal who previously had almost nothing and who experienced so few, if any, of a dog's normal pleasures?  Those who know Finn, and the way we are forging a life together where his disabilities do not define or limit him, would never use the word spoiled to describe him.  After all, this is a dog who willingly engages in a ministry of caring that requires so much of him.

The things I provide for Finn are not what they seem.  Outwardly, they are mobility devices: things that allow for transport from Point A to Point B.  Far beyond that, his stroller, K9 Cart (wheelchair), and bicycle trailer are really transformers.

When we seek to lift up the voiceless, whether it be a stroke victim, or a rescue animal, perhaps the best we can do is pay deep attention to the nuances, to the glimmers of how they show us what brings them even temporary pleasure.  Mary Oliver, in her typical eloquence, expressed that attention is the beginning of devotion.

As for Finn, he demonstrates to me on a daily basis that his quality of life is wrapped up in mine.  Wherever I am, that is where he wants to be.  I feel the same way.  I hate to be separated from Finn for even an hour of the day.  Without the devices that minimize his physical limitations, and that maximize his strengths, we would have to be apart far more than either of us desires.

Living Large Along the Rio Grande
Our togetherness—our connectedness—is greatly enhanced by the things that allow our energies to be focused on living fully.  As we rode together along the Rio Grande yesterday, Finn and I were totally immersed in living undivided (ala Parker Palmer).  We were being for ourselves what we intend to be for others.

When I first purchased Finn's bicycle trailer, I promised to share more after we had had the opportunity to take it for a spin.  Here is the link to that initial post: 2-in-1 Dog Trailer.  I realize this is not a typical follow-up review.  I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy anything.

As I started writing today's post, and let my heart lead the way, what moved me were the intangibles.  In essence, this trailer represents more than the sum of its parts (or any features I might choose to extol).  It is freedom, it is exhilaration, it is movement in the direction of our dreams.

How we choose to spend our time and money is deeply personal.  Perhaps the most important thing is how we use what we have to offer up a simple, pure devotion.  We don't have to buy anything to do that, but sometimes there is great pleasure to be known in acquiring that which has the capacity to transform the moments that make another's life worth living.

Quality of life is different for each of us.  We can't define what that is for someone else, but we can divine what that is through our deep presence and the cultivation of a listening heart and spirit.  For Finn and I, immersing ourselves in nature is the way we cultivate a spirit of healing.  The beauty is that that spirit can spill over from one life to another.

It is always about beginning and becoming.  As we roll together along new pathways, this therapy dog team is discovering what it means to live and love wholeheartedly.  And, for us, that is true quality of life.








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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Trailer - Review

Finn's New Adventure Mobile
Let's go!  These are the magic words that make my dog's heart sing.  Finn is always thrilled when we head out for an adventure, but his disability requires thoughtful solutions that enable him to enjoy rigorous outdoor activities.  This is why I bought Finn the Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Stroller/Trailer this week. Now he can go on extended hikes and bike rides without hurting or overly stressing his body.

When I adopted Finn a few months ago, the first thing I acquired for him was a standard dog stroller.  That stroller has been an important mobility aid given Finn's limited use of his rear legs, but it has significant issues.  The stroller is tippy and its small wheels can only handle paved surfaces.  Given the rugged terrain where we live and play, it quickly became apparent that we needed a different style of dog stroller.

As I initiated a search for Finn's next adventure mobile, my wish list included the following features: lower center of gravity (closer to the ground); bigger wheels; dual use features (bike trailer option in addition to stroller function); and affordability (many dog trailers cost several hundred dollars).

After considering several products, I found one that offered more than I was seeking.  The price was right (two to three hundred dollars less than other models offering fewer features) and the shipping was fast and free.  Everything arrived carefully packed.

Here's what I received in the box (clockwise from bottom center): tool kit; instructions; front swivel wheel and fork; safety flag; handlebars with brake; rear wheels; and trailer body.



In addition to getting the larger wheels (19-inch) on my wish list, I was especially happy to receive the bonus of a suspension system that will provide shock absorption.  I want Finn to have as smooth a ride as possible.  This is one of the more important features for a dog that cannot balance on all four legs.






I was ready to purchase another trailer model until I read complaints about the front wheel being stationary.  Because the wheel did not swivel, turning was tedious.  I now realize what a mistake it would have been to go with a stroller that was hard to maneuver around curves and corners.  The front wheel on this model can swivel 360 degrees and is 9.5 inches high.











Another complaint about some of the other dog strollers that I initially considered was that they lacked any storage options.  This model has two pockets, one on each side of the trailer body, that are just perfect for storing a cell phone, keys, or a wallet.













Though the trailer can be compacted for travel, I find it is easiest to just leave it fully assembled and use the bed of my truck for moving it around.  Even though I have a short bed on my Sport Trac, it is large enough to haul this trailer.  Anyone with a van, SUV, or truck will have plenty of room to easily transport this dog trailer.  The external dimensions are: 30" wide x 46" long x 38" high.  At 37 pounds, I can easily lift and load this stroller/trailer by myself.


Let's move on to what Finn likes about his new ride.  When I asked him, he wanted to make sure I mentioned his awesome sunroof.  That's pretty much his favorite feature.  I've been keeping the roof open while we're cruising so Finn can keep an eye on my driving.  The sunroof does have a screen and rain guard.  Given that the weather can change every five minutes in Colorado, I'm sure that hatch cover will be put to use.




Finn also likes the roomy interior of his carriage.  There is plenty of space to lie down comfortably.  The internal dimensions are: 23" wide x 28" long x 22" high.  He also enjoys all of the screened in picture windows.  This is one fabulous room with a view.








Most of all, Finn and I love the anticipation of all the places we will now be able to go.  We highly recommend the Best Choice Products 2 in 1 Dog Trailer.  It's not just for disabled dogs.  Most dogs could benefit from this mobility aid during some season in their lives.  Young pups and senior dogs often tire easily on long walks.  Also, many dogs have periods of time when they are recovering from something that limits their capacity to get around (a surgical procedure, injury, etc.).  It is so hard for a dog to be grounded.  Anything that keeps a dog's spirits up and is good for his overall well-being is so worth the investment.

Stay tuned for updates as we test the bicycle trailer option and take our first road trip.
















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