Fantastic outing with my fantastic boy! Spot on today! It’s raining and the wind blew an empty Actimel (DanActive for my US and Canuck friends) bottle towards him and it rolled and rattled. He looked at it, took a step back and for a second my heart stopped – I was sure he was going to spook. He didn’t. He watched it go by and recovered quickly and we carried on toward home. He did a perfect “back” in the supermarket line when the woman in front of us realized she forgot something and originally intended to just squeeze past us (ew, no thanks, we’ll back up) and was just great overall at matching pace with me and checking on me often. He did awesome on the stairs in front of the house, took them one by one and braced with each step, gave me enough space on the ramp in the lobby of our building so I didn’t smack into the wall. I’m so impressed with him today. Extra treats for him!
Now that Journey has been officially cleared by the orthopedic veterinarian to begin mobility training, it is clear that the equipment we currently have is woefully inadequate for the job. When I was partnered with Karma, I had no need for special harnesses or gear because she was tall enough and strong enough to simply use her body for bracing and counterbalance and to help steady me as I walk. Journey however is half her size and several inches shorter. The current equipment that he has is fine for light counterbalance, but will not serve for any bracing which I need with my bad hip (I am currently walking with assistance of a cane) and since it has a floppy handle, it will not help with any balancing when I get dizzy and have difficultly walking straight and upright.
We have done our research into the various harnesses on the market and the only one developed with help of an orthopedic vet and guaranteed to be safe for longterm use by the dog and disabled handler is the Bold Lead Designs Mobility Support Harness. The harness is light enough for Journey to wear all day while working, and stable enough to provide all the support I need. The harness is built to last for decades, so this will not only be Journey’s harness, but any successor dog that comes after him will also be able to use this harness, so while the original purchase price is steep, I will have many years of use out of it and it is the best option for us in the longterm.
You can see the harness and how it works in the video above.
Our new harness should arrive around the first week of September – we’re excited to begin training with it!