dog ramp to doggy door

Caroline Golon, the human behind the popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares the stories of pet owners who go the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.

After his beloved Dachshund, George, recovered from spinal surgery, Josh Simmons of Chandler, Ariz., had to come up with some unique ways to keep his dog from reinjuring himself. With determination, a little creativity and some elbow grease, Simmons did just that — and found the key to keeping George safe, happy and thriving for years.

Surgery or Wheelchair?

When George was 4 years old, he slipped a disk in his spine and was unable to use his rear legs. George’s vet offered Simmons a couple of options: having George undergo a $6,000 surgical procedure or fitting George for a dog wheelchair. Simmons opted for the pricey operation because of its high success rate and hoped George’s quality of life would return to what it was before the injury. Simmons made some sacrifices to pay for the surgery, including selling his all-terrain vehicle and some other belongings. “The dog came first, no question,” Simmons says. “I sold some stuff and got it done.”  

Creative Preventive Measures

As Simmons hoped, the surgery was a success and George bounced back quickly. But Simmons knew he had to keep his little dog from jumping and hurting himself again. Because the Doxie was prone to jumping up on furniture, Simmons decided to build George some ramps. “I’m not a carpenter, but I figured out how to build some things for him. They’re not pretty, but they work.”

Dog ramp to the bed

After looking around the house to see where George could use some assistance, Simmons decided to focus on building ramps for the bed and the couch. He used treats as a way to teach his dog to use the walkways and ramps instead of jumping, and George caught on quickly.

Over the past decade, Simmons and George have moved residences several times. Each home has posed a new ramp challenge. In one place, for example, the doggy door was a bit too high for George, so Simmons built ramps on either side of the door to make entering and exiting easier.

George loves swimming, so in their current home, Simmons made it easier for him to get in and out of the swimming pool by placing a couple of paver blocks by the stairs leading into the water.

It’s clear that the now 14-year-old George has benefitted from Simmons’ diligence. “He still runs around like a maniac. He looks old, but he still acts like a puppy!” Simmons says.

The dedicated dog dad admits that the ramps are just one of the many ways he spoils George. “I do anything I think will make him happier and his quality of life better,” Simmons says. “He deserves it.”

Read more The Things We Do for Love columns here.

What do you do for love? We’re looking for the funny, sweet and special stories that will make other pet parents smile. Email us at [email protected] to share your story. Please put "The Things We Do for Love" in the subject line.