Woman Builds A Custom Stairlift For Her Elderly Rescue Dogs

Most of us would do anything for our pets. We buy them the best food, we take them to their yearly vet visits, we spoil them rotten with toys and treats. And as they get older, we do our best to keep them comfortable and make their lives easier as they face mobility issues.

When her three elderly pugs – George, Bodhi, and Sam – began to slow down, Sonya Karimi knew she had to do something to ensure their comfort and ease at climbing up and down the stairs. The dogs, 13-year-old George, 10-year-old Bodhi, and 10-year-old Sam, were all showing signs that they weren’t as young as they used to be. Not wanting them to struggle with the climb, Sonya decided she was going to use her special set of skills to make their lives easier.

The 31-year-old Sonya is an occupational therapist from New Orleans, Louisiana. Normally she is used to working with the elderly, which is why she decided to take on a DIY project for her elderly pups. With the help of her partner, Zach Grate, Sonya designed and built a little “Doggie-vator” that is a stairlift in order to help the dogs get up and down. It’s not just a nice thing for the older pups, Sonya’s 4-year-old dog, Emery, also likes to get in on the action.

Sonya was inspired to create the stairlift because of Bodhi’s knee problems. Ever since the pooch was adopted, he struggled with bad knees. However, they got worse and eventually needed surgery to fix his ACL. It caused the couple to create a GoFundMe page in April in order to get the pug the help he so desperately needed since the surgery cost them $3,000 in total.

The stairlift is wonderful for Bodhi, but the other canines in the home also love to ride on the lift, so there is always a line for the stairs. The stairlift was built by Sonya and Zach while they were in quarantine. The lockdown actually provided the perfect atmosphere for them to get all creative with their DIY project.

The way it works is one dog gets into the little wooden box at a time. Then, one of their owners closes the door behind them and presses a button that then takes them up and down the stairs on a wooden ramp as they need. The entire ride is quite slow in order to keep them relaxed as they go.

Her inspiration came from seeing how well the people in her job did once they had a little help. Not finding anything similar for dogs, she decided to build her own. She shared that she was surprised at how quickly her pets took to riding the little doggie elevator.

She shared that her eldest dogs are the ones who really have gotten into the spirit of riding the doggie stairlift. Apparently, the two of them will sit there and wait for someone to send them up or down the stairs.

The ingenious idea of Sonya’s took her and Zach about three months in total to put together. The couple also got a bit of help from Zach’s parents who were retired engineers – that is handy! Even though it’s complete, Sonya still wants to put a few finishing touches on the lift. She plans to repaint the stairlift in order to resemble one of New Orlean’s famous streetcars. How cute will that look?

After posting the idea online, Sonya was worried about how people would receive it. She figured people would think she’s crazy for going the extra mile for her dogs. But she was pleasantly surprised to learn that many people were on her side, with plenty of comments of support and admiration for her work.

Don’t worry Sonya, we pet parents totally get it!

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Anastasia is an American ex-pat living in Ireland. When she's not writing she can be found wandering the Irish countryside in search of inspiration. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @AnastasiaArell5 or Instagram @writeranastasia26
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