Huuuup-muscle up.

Standing only for a moment he gets his toedies up and ready for the hoist.  I have been lifting Luke's rear end up for several years now.  He is still capable of getting his front half with his paws up on the edge of the car and I handle the rest.  (Another good reason to lift weights)  I have had many men (oddly enough) say to me "you should get a ramp," when they see me lift him into the Xterra.  I smile and tell them "no he's got me."  A ramp would be harder, take longer and frankly be much more dangerous to Luke.  When a dog is unstable on their feet; you do not want them walking up or down a ramp.  But of course if you cannot lift your dog into the car then you would need a ramp; making good and sure that they you got them if they fall. A fall for an old dog is just like a fall for a frail old human.

It is funny to see Elsa put her toedies up on the back of the car.  She always jumps in but sometimes if Luke has gone in before her, she will follow suit.  It is cute but it is good that she already understands this as I am sure that her time will come down the road.  Hopefully at that point I am still lifting and find it easy peasy to hoist her rear end in.  Hoisting a rear is not very difficult; even a much bigger dog can be hoisted if you do it right.  DO NOT USE YOUR BACK.  It doesn't matter how heavy a dog is; if you use your back to get them into the car, your back may go at anytime.

I walk up the stairs behind Luke now; he has had a few leg buckling moments which I was thankfully right there for.  I just hoist him up and he's good to go.  I don't make a big thing about it; I simply get him to his feet, pat him on the butt and tell him that he is the man.  Same thing going down, I am there right beside him in case; I keep a hand hovering beside him, but not touching.  So far he has only had two missteps on the stairs inside the house and just slipped, he did not fall.  Going up is much harder because that calls for the use of his bad legs, the back ones. 

If I am not home then the baby gate goes up so that he cannot go up or down the stairs.  He still gets on the couch but not as often anymore.  I have a great bed set up in both the living room and the family room for him to use if he is unsure about the couch.  He has been using both and been on the couch less and less; it seems to have been a nice and easy transition.  Even Elsa sleeps on the beds occasionally so it is a non issue.  No hard feelings for Luke if he chooses the floor instead of the couch.

Just this morning he asked to get up on my bed; something he has not done for sometime.  Because I am in my bed blogging, this is okay; but only when I will be here to make sure that he does not attempt to get down on his own.  The bed is much too high and a jump off would surely leave him with something, if not everything broken at this point.  So he puts his toedies up on the bed and asked to be hoisted.  When it is time to come down off of the bed; the first thing I do is to wrap my left arm around his chest.  He sometimes attempts a last minute leap and this is a safety measure so that does not happen.  Then my right arm goes under his chest between the brisket and belly and lift.  It is a good and solid way to lift him; there is no struggling which is important.  I lift with my legs and let him find his before I let him go on the floor.

If he is on the couch or lounge outside and preparing to dismount; I am up on my feet, ready to assist before he leaps.  A simple arm squeeze is all that is needed as both are fairly low to the ground.  I grab either side of his chest or waste and squeeze enough to balance him.  There is no lifting required, just a reassuring hand or two for safety.  There are a great number of things that change as a dog ages.  I know only too well that each is very different so aging is different as well.  Our little Jessie suffered from Dementia, for Tilley it was Vestibular Disease, Clyde had spinal issues where his feet would turn over and Luke suffers from a lack of muscle, balance and strength.  But at fourteen years old he is doing pretty darned amazing; even if he needs a bit of Mom's muscle to help him through the day.  I'm more than happy that I can lend a hand; I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.