Parents’ 10-Year-Old Dog Is Mysteriously Paralyzed, Then Son Spends $30 To Build DIY Wheelchair

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Just like humans, some dogs have disabilities — and, similarly to their human counterparts, some dogs are born with disabilities, while others become disabled due to life events.

Often we think about dogs losing a limb because they’ve gotten in a fight, or maybe becoming paralyzed after a car accident.

But what happens when your dog stops walking out of the blue?

One dog, Max, was 10 years old but still very active. He loved running and playing, even though he was getting up there in years.

In the middle of his walk one night, Max’s back legs gave out. It was completely out of the blue, but suddenly the 10-year-old dog couldn’t walk anymore.

His owners hoped that it was temporary, but when he didn’t start using his legs the next day, they took him to the vet.

When Max’s owners found out that he would likely never walk again, they were worried about his happiness — until their son stepped in to build a DIY wheelchair.

max paralyzed

The son posted the story on Imgur, a photo-sharing site, where he explained what happened to Max and how he helped.

He wrote:

Ok, here’s Max. He’s 10 and his a very active dog.

He’s my parent’s dog and unfortunately about 10 days ago, out of the blue, he was out for his night time walk and his back legs just gave out.

That’s it. Like a light switch his back legs no longer work and he’s now paralyzed.

The Vet said that it was most likely a stroke, and put him on a few drugs to see if he could regain activity in his legs.

Unfortunately, they didn’t work. He was very uncomfortable not being able to walk, actually bit my dad a few times, and the vet said to watch him.

If he was in pain in any way, my parents were afraid they would have to put him down.

So they had him fully checked out again on Friday, and the vet gave the all clear.

So the reason behind him being suddenly paralyzed in unknown, but the vet said “It’s more common than you think.”

wheelchair hardware

So after ensuring that Max isn’t in pain, it looks like chapter 2 of his life is going to be in a wheelchair.

There are a variety of custom made expensive wheelchairs, but I wanted to do a quick day build to build him a simple wheel chair to get him used to walking around the house only, and to build up some strength in his front legs.

So yesterday it was off to the hardware store…

I honestly don’t know anything about building and measuring for a custom dog wheelchair, so I just bought a bunch of PVC, a long threaded metal rod, and a few different wheels from the hardware store.

It was only about $30 total.

wheelchair wheels

After cutting that metal rod with a hacksaw (not easy since I’m weak and lazy) I finally got the rear axle in place, and decided on the larger wheels for Max. (He’s about 25lbs)

diy wheelchair

I had no clue how long to make it, so I guesstimated and put things in place loosely without glue.

After putting some duct tape on it, and having Max sit on it, I realized it was way too high, and the seat was a bit too long.

But the great thing about PVC is you just cut it down and try again.

max diy wheelchair

Here’s the revised prototype after cutting the top arms way down.

We can plop him in the chair rather easily, and the width was actually perfect. 

(Whew, because I didn’t want to cut that rod with a hacksaw again.)

diy wheelchair dog

Here he is standing for the first time since being paralyzed 10 days ago, and looking majestic…

I put a small piece of wood behind the wheels so he wouldn’t roll back, and it’s going to take a lot of getting used to as he retrains his body to walk without rolling back.

This morning I wake up and there’s a video texted to me from my dad.

My dad tied some little guide wires to the sides of the wheelchair, and used treats to get him used to the motion of walking forward.

He has a long way to go, but this was a pretty big step for him and for my parents.

If you think every dog deserves owners like Max’s, please SHARE this story with your friends and family!