It was a bright crisp winter’s morning and Merel and Sam, from Dignipets, were on their way to meet a very special dog. He is very well known in his local walking area, almost a local celebrity, and we really wanted to find out more about him and his owner. 

Rudi is a rescue dog who lives with his very dedicated owners. Sadly, Rudi started to struggle on his legs over the last 2 years and it is suspected that he is suffering from a condition known as degenerative myelopathy. 

What is degenerative myelopathy?

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive condition of the spinal cord. It usually affects dogs over the age of 8 years old and it causes a progressive deterioration in a dog’s mobility with wobbliness, lack of co-ordination and eventually knuckling or dragging of the hind legs. 

Rudi resting on his bed at home

Rudi is now at a stage where he is unable to walk unaided, however his owners have found an aid for Rudi that has changed his day to day life – Rudi has wheels. 

How Rudi got his wheels

Rudi’s owner took a lot of time to research a wheelchair for Rudi, and eventually found dogwheels.com

Rudi was measured for a custom-made set of wheels, and once the wheelchair arrived it could be further modified for Rudi. Dogwheels.com where there to answer any questions that Rudi’s owner had. 

Initially Rudi did take some time to get used to his wheels. He didn’t enjoy his first attempt in the garden and has even had a couple of minor accidents where he has fell over, however now he is an expert. 

Our walk with Rudi

Today we went for a walk in the woods with Rudi and his owner. Rudi was really enjoying the fresh air, sniffing and snuffling in the leaves and marking his areas. The wheels coped amazingly well on the uneven ground and at times you almost needed to jog to keep up with him. Rudi tackled mud, hills and rocky paths with no problems. 

Merel and Rudi’s owner enjoying a stroll with Rudi

Rudi has become almost famous in his local dog walking area. He now enjoys greeting other dogs and their owners. 

The chair has been easy to clean according to Rudi’s owner and there have been no sore areas from the chair, however Rudi’s owner is very conscious of this and checks all contact areas daily. 

Although Rudi gets all the attention, it is Rudi’s owner that has put in so much care and work into providing for Rudi. She is his full-time carer and is very conscious of only making decisions that suit Rudi’s emotional and physical needs. Rudi does require constant care, as without his chair he does need assistance around the house. 

Although a dog wheelchair may not be appropriate for all conditions and pets, for some it is lifeline to social and emotional wellbeing. 

Where can I find more help or advice?

At Dignipets we are always looking at ways to help you care for your pets with chronic or life limiting conditions. If you would like to talk to our team please call us on 0333 3208731. 


Maja Redfern

Maja is clinical director at Dignipets. A mobile veterinary practice that offers palliative and end of life care for every pet in need in the West Midlands. Having completed a certification programme in hospice and palliative care in 2017 Maja advises colleagues and referring practices on pain management for their most difficult geriatric cases. She is a dedicated pet owner (two dogs and three cats) and has developed a reputation amongst wanderers and strays for being the go-to person when lost.