Mom, can you take me for a walk?

Brenda Grasha Community Manager, Experience Leader
Timber Mill, The Woodlands, TX
Employee since 2012

If there’s one major thing that we and our residents have in common, it’s our love for animals! When a distressed resident experienced a physical setback with her dog that left him unable to walk, our hearts went out to her. We knew we had to step up and help. After all, their pets are our residents, too! 

The Opportunity

Marilyn and her dog Mickey had come up to the office to chat. Once the conversation wrapped up, Mickey remained seated and could not get up to walk. Marilyn informed me that Mickey had canine degenerative myelopathy, an incurable disease of the spinal cord that’s similar to ALS. He had been doing okay, but recently began to decline. She asked if he could rest in the office for a bit in order to regain the strength to walk home. We moved him to a covered and quieter part of the office and I came back a short time later to check in. Marilyn became very upset because she had not seen Mickey this bad before. Marilyn would be unable to carry him home herself, as he is a full-grown Boxer weighing in at 50 pounds. I helped her get Mickey home and she mentioned to me that she had been waiting on her vet to receive a dog wheelchair. Unfortunately, she had been waiting on a response and was unsure how much longer it would be before she received one. 

The Epiphany

It broke my heart to see Marilyn so upset that Mickey did not have the strength to get up, and it was even worse that she was stuck waiting on a solution. I knew that Marilyn is on a fixed income and cannot afford to go out and buy something like this. It was unbearable to think of Mickey not being able to go outside for walks and take care of his business and I knew Marilyn would not be able to carry him.

The Wow Moment

After I left Marilyn’s apartment, I immediately went back to the office and started researching dog wheelchairs. The first ones that popped up were over $450 — they are not cheap. I kept on searching and was able to find one that I could get in a couple days that was less expensive. So, I ordered it! It arrived on Monday and it was not until the late afternoon that I got a chance to put the chair mostly together. I called her a few times and finally on Wednesday, I heard back. I made sure she was going to be home all day and took the wheelchair over to her. She saw me coming through the patio windows and met me at the door. She could not believe I got Mickey a wheelchair! Together we went in and adjusted the chair for Mickey so it would fit and took him outside for his first walk. You can bet Mickey was a little apprehensive at first, but after a couple short attempts, he was walking without a problem. Marilyn was shocked, surprised, grateful, happy — you name it. She cried. I can’t count the number of times she said “thank you.” But what was the best part is how when she was helping me get it the right size for Mickey — the whole time she kept telling him that now he will be able to go for walks again. They are now able to take their daily walks around the property without her having to worry that Mickey will not make it home!

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