Editor’s Note: This is an updated post from our archives.
Pet blogger Therese Kopiwoda recently wrote about her 13-year-old Border Collie, Archie, and the adjustments she’s making to accommodate his age-related issues.
“Nothing I’ve done so far has taken much effort on my part, but the changes are making a huge difference for Archie,” writes Kopiwoda. “I’m keeping my eye out for whatever it is that he might be having difficulty with and then making minor adjustments to make life easier for him. It’s not rocket science, but does take a little observation to see what’s not working and how I might be able to fix it. Even then, there’s a little little trial and error involved to figure out exactly what’s going to work best.”
Here’s an excerpt from her column for Pet Connection, “How I’m helping Archie ease into old age,” in which she shares a few areas where she’s making changes including how she’s communicating with Archie and some easy decorating changes she’s made so he’s more comfortable at home.
“Slip Sliding Away
Some of the rooms in my house have stained concrete or tile. I’ve seen him lose his footing and have trouble getting up now and then. So, in addition to the various dog beds throughout the house, I now have throw rugs lying in strategic places. I also have blankets in some of his favorite places so he doesn’t have to lie on the hard floors. He still does sometimes, but most of the time he opts for the softer spots. It’s helping. I’ve seen an improvement in how his old bones work. He has a much easier time getting up after laying on something softer than the floor.
Come and Get It
It used to be that Archie & Lydia would both come running when I started getting their meals ready. Lydia still does, but not Archie. As his hearing started to go, I’d call out for him and he’d come trotting into the kitchen ready to eat. He doesn’t even hear me when I call anymore though, so I actually go find him and pet him gently until he wakes up. Then, a little hand signal, and “let’s eat” gets him going. I also have a raised dish for his water & food. He seems to enjoy meal time a little more since he doesn’t have to lean over so far to get to his food.
Take me Riding in the Car
Archie loves riding in the car, but it’s not as easy as it once was. Archie’s hind legs don’t have the strength they used to, so he needs help getting in. At 40 pounds, he’s not huge, but he’s not little either. And since I have had some back issues in the past, lifting can be a bit troublesome for me. I have a sling that I sometimes use for him, but even that requires lifting. We tried a ramp, but the darn thing was just as heavy as Archie. So for now, I’m just being very careful when I lift him up. If anyone has any solutions for this, I’m all ears. He loves going in the car and I’m not about to take that away from him just because I’m a weakling!”
You can read more from Therese Kopiwoda on her company’s blog here.
When Daley needed help getting in and out of the car, I bought a Help ‘Em Up Harness and it was the best dog-related product purchase I’ve ever made. (You can read my love letter at the “Friends” section of the Help ‘Em Up site here.)
But for those who want or need to go the ramp route, one of Kopiwoda’s readers pointed out a past Pet Connection product review of the Ramp4Paws. Watch Pet Connection’s video of an older dog learning to use the ramp below. What stood out for me is that the ramp appears sturdy without being clunky (it weighs about 15 pounds) and it rolls up and comes with a storage bag.