The Things We Do for Love: “I Remodeled My House for My Special-Needs Pets”
Published on July 27, 2012
Caroline Golon, the human behind popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares stories of pet owners who have gone the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.
Sara Henderson of Des Moines, Iowa, was perfectly content living with an aging Labrador–Chow–Rottweiler mix named Lady and two blind cats. The 13-year-old dog had developed arthritis and was having trouble getting up and down the stairs. The blind cats, Henderson says, “do pretty well on their own,” but one of them tends to pee in places where he shouldn’t.
When Henderson learned about a 4-year-old special-needs Boxer–Pit Bull mix who needed a home, she wanted to help. Chance, who had been struck by a train, had mobility issues and required special care, including a dog wheelchair. While she was concerned about the energy and expense it might take to care for Chance, it didn’t take long for Henderson to decide that she would figure out a way to make it work and agreed to adopt him.
Henderson says her friends helped her adapt her house for her new family member by helping her completely remodel her kitchen so Chance would have a safe, comfortable and easy-to-clean place to spend his time.
“It used to be a big square room with an island in the middle,” Henderson says. The friends gutted the kitchen and replaced the flooring, cabinets and appliances. “We totally opened it up,” she says. “Now it’s a huge room where Chance can just sprawl out.”
A New Use for the Dining Room
At night, Henderson would carry Chance up to the bedroom where she, Chance and Lady all slept together. But Henderson noticed that Lady was having increasing problems navigating the stairs, to the point where it was impossible for her to climb them.
“She was too heavy for me to carry her,” Henderson says. “And I would never leave her downstairs at night by herself. She’s slept with me every day of her life since she was a puppy!” So Henderson simply moved her bedroom downstairs to the dining room.
Now, the three easily sleep together on the first floor.
Henderson admits it’s not a convenient setup. She had to move her dining room table into her office, and her dresser and clothes remain upstairs.
She’s even considered moving to a one-story home so the layout would be easier for her pets. It’s not that far-fetched of an idea for Henderson, especially considering the fact that her affinity for pets who need extra care doesn’t seem to be waning. “I always say the next pet I get will not have special needs,” she says. “But they probably will,” she adds with a laugh.
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.