A little bit about Woody:
Woody is a 9-10 year old Tibetan Terrier that lives in the United Kingdom. His life was not one of luxury and endless cuddles until he came to live with his new family 2 years ago and now has a brother. Woody was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy and needed a wheelchair to continue to get around. Luckily, his amazing mom, Leigh, entered him in Animal Ortho Care’s Haute Wheels Pet Wheelchair Giveaway Contest. His story moved the AOC Team and Woody won a free wheelchair to help him in his golden years.
Here, Leigh tells us about Woody and his experience through life.
Tell us about Woody’s past and how he came to be with you?
Woody’s first three years were good ones. He lived with a nice young man that took good care of him. One day, the man got a girlfriend and the girlfriend didn’t like Woody. Rather than giving up Woody to a better home, they kept him for 5 more years and neglected him. He was beaten very badly, he didn't get any attention, and he was so underweight and bony. It was really sad when you would reach out to pet him and he would duck because he was expecting a blow. We got him from Holbrook Animal Rescue in Horsham, Surrey - about 2 1/2 hours drive away just to get him.
What does Woody like to do for fun? What is his personality like?
Woody is such a sweet boy. He loves to have contact with you all the time and if you're not giving him enough attention then he’ll reach out and grab you with his paw to let you know. He also loves to carry a ball with him everywhere he goes. He will carry it around with him or he will put it on the floor in front of you and bark at it to let you know. He doesn’t really do fetch, he just likes to have a ball with him.
I don’t know if you play the game over there where someone puts their hand out and someone puts their hand on top but Woody likes to do that too. That is so funny but I’ve never known a dog that does something like that in my life. We will play it with three of us and he’ll wait his turn.
Tell us about Woody’s condition and what your Veterinarian recommended?
He's always had a funny walk where his back legs swung out a bit and we just thought it was part of his character. We figured it was not part of his character when he started to get worse. I had an appointment with his groomer and she’s around so many dogs all the time that I just said “before I take him to the vet, tell me what you think.” She actually was with him for half an hour and said “he’s just not right, take him to the vet straight away.”
We took him to the vet and he took a look and he told me this is what he’s got: Degenerative Myelopathy. He said “you can spend thousands of pounds on tests if you want but they’ll just tell you what I’m telling you.” The vet told me that Woody will lose control of his back legs then his front legs, he’ll knuckle on his paws, and he’ll start to become incontinent. The only thing we can do is manage it so they suggested physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
How was Woody through his treatment before receiving his Wheelchair?
We took him to physiotherapy, he got some massages and some movement in his legs. After 3 visits with the physiotherapist, they said that they wouldn’t be able to improve him any more so they showed me which exercises to do and now we do that while we’re having a hug. We’re doing it ourselves every day now. We had one trial at hydrotherapy but Woody does not like water at all. Even if it’s raining he won’t go outside. So we tried hydrotherapy one time and they suggested maybe not to do that.
How did you come across Animal Ortho Care’s Wheelchair Giveaway Contest?
I think I was just browsing Facebook one day and it may have been in one of the Degenerative Myelopathy groups or other dog groups that I’m in but I saw it and immediately clicked on it. I’m glad I did because when I went back later to look for it, I couldn’t find it again.
How was the Wheelchair fitting process for you? How did Woody take to the wheelchair when he first got it on?
Woody was great, he was standing still for the whole thing. Putting it together was very easy and fun, I enjoy the DIY type things so I had a lot of fun putting it together. The numbers on it made it so easy to match the sides, you could get one side right and switch over and match the numbers up. Other wheelchairs that I’ve seen just look complicated. The video also helped a lot.
When Woody first got into the wheelchair, he just stood there for 10 minutes looking like “Are you crazy? What do I do?” I had a lead on him and I gently tugged a little bit to get him moving. The first time I think he did about 200 yards.
Has Woody’s life changed since getting the wheelchair? Does he use his wheelchair often?
Now that we’ve had the wheelchair for a little bit, he’s getting used to it more. He does seem to accept it more than he did. I’ll take him out for at least half an hour a day. We try to have him walk without the wheelchair while he still can. We’ve tried putting his feet in the foot straps but he doesn’t like that. He is starting to have more bad days but he doesn’t seem to care or notice!
Would you like to share a story about Woody?
Woody loves to be covered in mud, even when he shouldn’t be. We were out in a meadow with his wheels and there was a shallow, stagnant pond. He just ran straight into the pond and was absolutely covered in mud, wheels and all! He smelled so awful and I had to hose him and his wheels down after that.
There is one other good thing though about those wheels, he can't roll [around] in the deer poo!