Adapting homes for disabled animals

January 27, 2011

Sue Naiden moved out of her fourth-floor apartment to accommodate Trio, her 9-year-old pit bull.

"Trio had her back leg bitten off when she was about 5 weeks old. She was used as bait in a dog fight," said Naiden. "I got her at 3 months old, and then she was fine, you know, when she was little she could get around fine. But she's 10 years old now, and around about at year 7 she started having problems, just a harder time getting around. Where I carry her more and then she would gain weight 'cause she wasn't so active.

"I ended up just moving so I could get a garden apartment," said Naiden.

Carrying Trio up and down the stairs also affected Naiden's health.

"My back started bothering me, like I was having the same ailments as her," Naiden said.

Dog trainer Jamie Damato Migdal knows the feeling when your dog becomes disabled.

"Some people I know have made adjustments in their home. They get ramps, they have special training and they undergo with their dogs. A lot of people who have hearing-impaired dogs, for example, have to train their dogs hand signals," said Migdal. "Dogs who have visual impairments they have to train their dogs with things like scents or other sounds."

There are also people like Naiden who go that extra mile for their dog.

"Whether it's moving couple of floors below whether it's getting some situation where they have to set up a potty area in their house," said Migdal.

At times, there's extra cost involved to accommodate your dog.

"A ramp can be fairly inexpensive. It's a piece of plywood in most circumstances, maybe covered with some carpet," said Migdal. "Physical therapy, massage, acupuncture -- all of these all these kinds of added things can help to increase the quality of life for the dog who's disabled."

"I call this Trio apartment," Naiden said. "Everything is as low as it can go. My bed is off the frame, so she can get up on top of it, you know. It's just, I figured I took on the responsibility of getting this dog, and I didn't know what it entailed when I first got her."

Naiden established Trio Animal Foundation to help dogs with medical conditions and adopting dogs who have special needs.

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