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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Hiking with a Handicapped Dog

    I have a five-year old beagle named Peanut. He is the runt of the litter, which are often not the healthiest dogs. I'm trying to figure out the best way to carry him on hikes.

    At three years old, Peanut developed disc problems and partial paralysis. Degenerative disk disease is a common beagle problem. After spending $3000 on an MRI, the doctor said the dog had four degenerative discs and a Chiari malformation ( a defect where the spinal cord enters the skull). Surgery to correct these problems would have been 6 to 10 thousand dollars, but the doctor recommended against it. She recommended keeping the dog in a cage for six weeks to limit movement. Scar tissue might form and the dog might get better.

    Well, Peanut is better. He can hike a couple of miles with no problem. Longer distances? I'm just not sure it's wise for him. However, that doesn't mean I can't carry him on the trail. He's 16 to 20 lbs and about six to eight inches tall.

    So how would you transport the handicapped Peanut on the trail? I have carried him often in a day pack, but what about when I'm carrying a full pack? I really don't want him hanging out the top of a 60 liter pack. So here are the options I see right now.

    1. Create an Aarn-style pack that could connect to the front shoulder supports of my pack. You could even use a day pack to make something.
    2. Create a sling, kind of like a mini-hammock, that would drape over one shoulder. I used these slings for carrying all three of my kids when they were transportable infants (carry-able?).

    In my opinion the sling would be much more comfortable for the dog. However, that puts added strain on one shoulder. I suppose you could switch shoulders during the hike, but that's a drag for me and the dog.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rug's Avatar
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    What about a wagon? Put pulk poles on it, and tow him.
    I ride a recumbent.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member hikingshoes's Avatar
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    There is a video out that I seen on Youtube.You place your backpack to it then hook it around your waist and pull your pack. Maybe that would be something to look into. Sorry,I cant remember the name of it.HS

  4. #4
    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    First thing that came to my mind was a simple solution that I definitely would do if I had your situation ... I'd call up Paul at Arrowhead Equipment and order one of the Dixon Roller packs he carries on his site. I think a man could make a very comfortable ride for your beast with little to no strain on you.

    Up until a few years ago when my last Beagle passed away ... nearly killed me inside ... I've had Beagles all my life. No disrespect to my boy Spencer but Beagles are the best dogs ever.

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.


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  5. #5
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    I expect it is just too much weight to carry overall but a friend has a carrier she wears in front to carry her dog in. It's like a baby carrier where the dog faces forward on your chest with their legs sticking out. I tried it with her dog and it was very comfortable for both the dog and me.

    If I had a backpack on the straps might get in he way but I've seen people carry small packs on their chest with a full pack on. The offsetting weight balance might be an advantage also.
    I can't buy something without first considering whether I could just make it myself instead. How'd I get so screwed up?

  6. #6
    WV's Avatar
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    You do the same thing you would do when hiking with other people: adapt your route to the abilities of the weakest hiker - with the important difference that you must be especially mindful, because dogs don't complain when they are uncomfortable, and they will ignore real pain just to be with their humans. There are incredible places to visit that can be enjoyed at a pace of two miles per day. It can be tough to stop challenging yourself a bit each time you head out. Take up fishing.

  7. #7
    Yoda's Avatar
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    While I tend to agree with WV, my suggestion would be something like a modified front baby carrier! You could make one that clips to your shoulderstraps but you need to make sure that the weight is on your hips, so a type of support rods would need to be used (similar to your initial choice of a Aarn mimic)!
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....

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  8. #8
    Two Tents's Avatar
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    Hey SilvrSurfr, make sure you bring a big sack of sand for him. From the story you told at MAHHA your doggie seems to think that's some kind of treat! Maybe you could dehydrate some so it don't weigh so much.
    I like refried beans. That's why I wanna try fried beans, because maybe they're just as good and we're just wasting time. You don't have to fry them again after all.

  9. #9
    DivaB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WV View Post
    You do the same thing you would do when hiking with other people: adapt your route to the abilities of the weakest hiker - with the important difference that you must be especially mindful, because dogs don't complain when they are uncomfortable, and they will ignore real pain just to be with their humans. There are incredible places to visit that can be enjoyed at a pace of two miles per day. It can be tough to stop challenging yourself a bit each time you head out. Take up fishing.
    +1 on what WV says. I carry my little ones in a front pack dog carrier...but I'd be concerned with your situation that it could hurt your little guys back or cause it to misaligned, or even your steps unexpectedly jolting him wrong. I'd have to say that if one of mine had any spine issues, I wouldn't put them in a front carrier. Again +1 on what WV is saying.

  10. #10
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk-eye View Post
    First thing that came to my mind was a simple solution that I definitely would do if I had your situation ... I'd call up Paul at Arrowhead Equipment and order one of the Dixon Roller packs he carries on his site. I think a man could make a very comfortable ride for your beast with little to no strain on you.
    This sounds like a very good solution. You wouldn't even feel the extra weight (much) this way.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
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