Copper's Cart Modifications

8/04

Once I got it all adjusted, the first modifications were mostly for fun:

Side pouches for light loads. I made these with nylon pouches from the drug store, and bits of nylon strapping and velcro. He usually just carries a spare pair of booties, a fold up water dish, and occasionally a screwdriver on days when I'm messing with the cart. And a velcro strap so he can carry poop bags strapped to the cart too.  Homemade surfin' Rat Fink button on one pouch just because no self-respecting So Cal Hot Rodder should go anywhere without RF!  He's dressed up here  for the So Cal Bichon Rescue Picnic:


WARNING: Do not ask any carted dog to carry even an half ounce of extra weight if there's ANY pain involved whatsoever or if the dog can't be stressed at all (post surgical dogs for instance). Copper's in no pain at all, he is well built with good shoulders. I've been conditioning him and he has a very strong front end.
 

Also got flames on the bars behind the wheels and a vanity plate (hint: if you have screen capture and photoshop, the california dmv site is a great place to get plate graphics!). All homemade of course..

It was at this event that I realized he's now lost the strength in his paws to bend the duct tape booties. He's also been dragging his feet enough that he often couldn't reach under himself for a decent stride. Time to start going from walker to wheelchair :-(

I ended up with more modifications. After trying the standard equipment cart stirrups, I tried waistband elastic. He lost his licence plate temporarily, but I'll put it back on eventually. He seemed to really like it that way, he was keeping up a real good pace with elastic stirrups, but he stretched out the elastic pretty quickly. So, I tried surgical tubing:

Notice my feet keeping him from running at the gate in front of him, he's ready to go. I kept the original stirrups on, let them out all the way,  put small D rings in the hooks, and tied the tubing between the D rings and the original leg loops.  The tubing carries the weight of his legs, his feet are just off the ground.

There is more sway with surgical tubing than the standard nylon stirrups, but it's still less than when he was walking with his feet completely on the ground. I think he likes the energy return it gives him, and it allows him to reach under himself more. It should give his hind end a good workout and help fight the atrophy even better now . I put a piece of pipe insulation on the back bar so if he hits it with his wild strides he won't hurt himself. He definitely likes having stretch in the stirrups.

Using stirrups lifted the side bars considerably. While I liked the weightlessness on his back, he wasn't sitting in the seat evenly anymore.. But, the boy carries his own tools now and it just needed a quick adjustment, bringing the harness attachment up about 1.5". Only other drawback is I think I'm gonna have to tighten the knots on the tubing before I take him out every day, not a big problem.

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These booties are still in the experimental stage, they've got teflon film sewn to them. When I get further with them, I'll put the info on them on the booties page.He still needs them because he can still stretch down to just barely touch the ground, a good thing especially on a slight incline when he needs hind foot help to keep from rolling backwards.

Update 9/27/04

Copper is now using stirrups full time, with his feet now off the ground completely. The original stirrups were a bit difficult to use because Copper has such large paws. I'd have to pull them larger to slip them over his feet, then tighten then up around his leg above his hock or else too much leg would slip through. Then I'd often have to pull them larger again to get them off. So, I made some custom sized stirrups for him, using a cheap car wash mitt, a bit of nylon strapping, and a few clips (small carabiner and bit clips) and D rings from the hardware store. Makes getting him in and out of the cart much easier now. Since his feet are now off the ground, I don't have to keep booties on him at all now. I do keep the old stirrups in his saddle bags as  backups, in case one of the surgical tubes breaks when we're out. 
 
 

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Last updated 9/27/03