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As some of you know I have an illness that forces me to stay home most of the time. I just had some testing done that confirmed what I thought : I have been getting worse in the last few years.

My dogs are very well taken care of in all aspects : food, treats, vet care, grooming, having company all day (they love each other and I am practically always home). In all aspects except exercise. That’s the one (and important) aspect that I can’t fulfill in their lives. In summer, they do get to go play in the yard many times a day, but you know how dogs are, they need entertaining. They will play for a few minutes with each other, than mostly chill out, rolling in the grass, lying down or chewing a stick. Sometimes I can’t even go sit outside with them and they’ll want in after 5-10 minutes.

I bought an electric wheelchair to be able to take them for walks. I can only use it when I am well enough, so maybe once or twice a week, when not too hot. Having a regular dog walker is expensive and I can’t afford it. I might try to find a teenager to walk at least Beckie but for the sake of this argument, let’s not take this into consideration.

Merlin doesn’t really mind, although he loves to exercise. He’s such a mama’s boy that all he wants is to be close to me, ideally on my lap.

Beckie, on the other hand, is an active girl. Although she is very calm inside the house, I can tell she misses being active. On some days I sleep a good portion of the time. They will sleep with me, or next to me.

If it was only Merlin, I wouldn’t feel guilty. But for Beckie, I do.

Sometimes I tell my daughter I shouldn’t have dogs and she says «*mom, they have everything with you, except one thing. But all the rest is very good. Don’t worry.*»

But I do worry. Am I being selfish and depriving Beckie of a home where she could be physically active ? Should I find her another family and just keep Merlin ? I am in tears writing this but is this what I should do ? Merlin’s life (and mine) would not be as complete without her.

I guess I am looking for some kind of reassurance that I’m not completely ruining Beckie’s life. :-(
 

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Don't even think about feeling guilty - you love Beckie, and she loves you, and therefore she's remaining with you!!!!!

If Beckie were not happy because she's not being active enough, she will let you know, and there will be clear signs - e.g. she'll start being destructive around the house, or she'll start moping around and not eating. If she's calmly lying next to you, she's CHOOSING to do that because that's what makes her happy!

Poodles are extremely adaptive dogs - that's what makes them so great. Both my very active poodles, Vontae and Shilo, came from not active, but very loving, previous homes (their breeders). After they came to live with me, they became very active because I like being active, and my activeness brought out their activeness. BUT, would I then turn around and say they were not as happy back in their former homes because their former homes were not active? Absolutely, positively, NOT! There's no way I would even entertain such a thought, and if god forbidden they somehow have to go back to their former homes, would I have 100% confidence that they'd be happy there again? Absolutely, yes.

Kevin
 

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Don't even think about feeling guilty - you love Beckie, and she loves you, and therefore she's remaining with you!!!!!

If Beckie were not happy because she's not being active enough, she will let you know, and there will be clear signs - e.g. she'll start being destructive around the house, or she'll start moping around and not eating. If she's calmly lying next to you, she's CHOOSING to do that because that's what makes her happy!

Poodles are extremely adaptive dogs - that's what makes them so great. Both my very active poodles, Vontae and Shilo, came from not active, but very loving, previous homes (their breeders). After they came to live with me, they became very active because I like being active, and my activeness brought out their activeness. BUT, would I then turn around and say they were not as happy back in their former homes because their former homes were not active? Absolutely, positively, NOT! There's no way I would even entertain such a thought, and if god forbidden they somehow have to go back to their former homes, would I have 100% confidence that they'd be happy there again? Absolutely, yes.

Kevin
Thank you, I had never thought of it this way ! I will keep this in mind for sure. It feels a lot better... :)
 

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Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear of your health decline, Dechi :( I completely agree with your daughter's and Kevin's arguments. Beckie has 99% of what she needs with you (waaaaay more than most dogs have), and poodles are so adaptable to their circumstances. And she still gets a yard to play in, which is more than so many dogs have. You are so kind and caring to think of Beckie's needs, but she only knows you and Merlin and she is happy with you!
 

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Firstly, I'm so sorry to hear of your health decline, Dechi :( I completely agree with your daughter's and Kevin's arguments. Beckie has 99% of what she needs with you (waaaaay more than most dogs have), and poodles are so adaptable to their circumstances. And she still gets a yard to play in, which is more than so many dogs have. You are so kind and caring to think of Beckie's needs, but she only knows you and Merlin and she is happy with you!
Thank you so much, it’s good to hear ! Sometimes we’re not the best judges and other people’s opinion can really help.
 

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No, you're not being selfish. You're a kind compassionate person who loves Beckie. As a person who lives with progressive neuromuscular disease, I hear you. I hear you and I'm sending you a hug.

Disability can change your body. It can change the things you are physically able to do. It cannot change your love for your dog. It cannot change your creativity. I know you can meet Beckie's exercise needs. You just have to do it differently than a long walk in the park. With that in mind, here are two suggestions to help Beckie be active indoors while you rest.

Does Beckie like to play fetch? A flat cardboard box balanced on your lap will send a ball rolling without you having to spend physical energy on throwing a ball. Angle the cardboard, roll the ball down the cardboard, and physics will do the rest. If pushing a ball off your lap is too hard--and somedays it might be too hard--have someone tape the cardboard to a stable platform like a chair. Encourage Beckie to jump on the chair, drop the ball, and play fetch by herself.

Add a miniature obedience jump to your living room. Jump over the jump, run to you for love, jump over the jump again. If you need a resource on where to find a mini indoor jump, just send me a PM. I have an idea.

A long walk in the park isn't the only way to exercise a dog. We can think of many creative solutions that make room for disability while you meet Beckie's exercise needs. I understand disability. I've been too physically weak to pet my dog because I couldn't move my arms well enough. Days like that we snuggle and watch TV. Noelle has spent many an afternoon chasing a ball in my bedroom because I wasn't strong enough to go outside. That's ok. We do what we can do within our limits. I believe in you, Dechi. I believe you can make this work. I'm here to help in any way I can. If you just need a shoulder to cry on, you have mine. PM me. I'm right here.
 

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No, you're not being selfish. You're a kind compassionate person who loves Beckie. As a person who lives with progressive neuromuscular disease, I hear you. I hear you and I'm sending you a hug.

Disability can change your body. It can change the things you are physically able to do. It cannot change your love for your dog. It cannot change your creativity. I know you can meet Beckie's exercise needs. You just have to do it differently than a long walk in the park. With that in mind, here are two suggestions to help Beckie be active indoors while you rest.

Does Beckie like to play fetch? A flat cardboard box balanced on your lap will send a ball rolling without you having to spend physical energy on throwing a ball. Angle the cardboard, roll the ball down the cardboard, and physics will do the rest. If pushing a ball off your lap is too hard--and somedays it might be too hard--have someone tape the cardboard to a stable platform like a chair. Encourage Beckie to jump on the chair, drop the ball, and play fetch by herself.

Add a miniature obedience jump to your living room. Jump over the jump, run to you for love, jump over the jump again. If you need a resource on where to find a mini indoor jump, just send me a PM. I have an idea.

A long walk in the park isn't the only way to exercise a dog. We can think of many creative solutions that make room for disability while you meet Beckie's exercise needs. I understand disability. I've been too physically weak to pet my dog because I couldn't move my arms well enough. Days like that we snuggle and watch TV. Noelle has spent many an afternoon chasing a ball in my bedroom because I wasn't strong enough to go outside. That's ok. We do what we can do within our limits. I believe in you, Dechi. I believe you can make this work. I'm here to help in any way I can. If you just need a shoulder to cry on, you have mine. PM me. I'm right here.
Well, now you have me in tears... Thank you for your compassion and understanding. I had no idea you had it so bad yourself. You sure are a great mom to your dog !

Unfortunately Beckie won’t chase and retrieve balls or toys. She will go after it once or twice, but then gets tired of it. And she won’t bring it back most of the time.

Maybe I could teach her the jumping tricks on the days I am up to it. I do have room for that in my house, as long as it’s easy to pick up and put away (my house is small). I’m interested in your ideas. We should make it public, in case someone else with a disability needs help.

Thank you so much ! :)
 

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Dechi and Click, I had no idea you had such difficult physical disabilities. I'm sorry to hear of you having such a hard time. You've already gotten some good posts. I agree 100% with everyone and Kevin put it so succinctly. You need to ask yourself if there's any evidence that your dogs are suffering. What's the worst thing that will happen with no walks but instead play in the yard, some interesting mind games inside maybe? When I think of all the dogs in this world and how they have it, I consider you to be about the most unselfish person. Anyone who would do what you did to help Merlin over come a lot of his issues is 180 degrees away from selfish. Just asking yourself if you're doing right by your dogs proves you're thinking of them, not you. Banish those negative, toxic thoughts. Your dogs are fine. You have the most important ingredient...love.

Dogs, remember evolved to latch onto their humans, bond, get on the same emotional page, they're so attentive and into their owners. Extreme exercise is over rated. Dogs...wild dogs, feral dogs don't exercise anymore than they have to. It burns too many calories. They're not designed to over do it. So some play in the yard, maybe some kind of jumps or some kind of make shift agility equipment would be fun for Becky. But I don't think it's a requirement. If she gets a walk now and then...maybe some teenager in your neighborhood would like to do that for you...then that would give a little variety. But it isn't needed every day imo.

So no more tears. You give your dogs plenty of what they need and then some. ((((hugs))))
 

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Oh, I had a dog like Beckie who thought fetch was boring. Noelle is absolutely ball crazy which makes my life much easier.

There's a mini indoor agility kit available on Amazon. If you're looking for a simple jump for the living room, you're all set. Good for a toy sized dog. Not so good for a great dane. If you have someone handy, a PVC version is easy to make. Noelle has a PVC jump that my husband made.

You could also have a handy person make cavalettis. https://www.lifewithmutts.com/2017/03/18/13-diy-canine-cavaletti-kit-for-rehab-muscle-building-and-balance/

Let me think on this some more.
 

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Dechi and Click, I had no idea you had such difficult physical disabilities. I'm sorry to hear of you having such a hard time. You've already gotten some good posts. I agree 100% with everyone and Kevin put it so succinctly. You need to ask yourself if there's any evidence that your dogs are suffering. What's the worst thing that will happen with no walks but instead play in the yard, some interesting mind games inside maybe? When I think of all the dogs in this world and how they have it, I consider you to be about the most unselfish person. Anyone who would do what you did to help Merlin over come a lot of his issues is 180 degrees away from selfish. Just asking yourself if you're doing right by your dogs proves you're thinking of them, not you. Banish those negative, toxic thoughts. Your dogs are fine. You have the most important ingredient...love.

Dogs, remember evolved to latch onto their humans, bond, get on the same emotional page, they're so attentive and into their owners. Extreme exercise is over rated. Dogs...wild dogs, feral dogs don't exercise anymore than they have to. It burns too many calories. They're not designed to over do it. So some play in the yard, maybe some kind of jumps or some kind of make shift agility equipment would be fun for Becky. But I don't think it's a requirement. If she gets a walk now and then...maybe some teenager in your neighborhood would like to do that for you...then that would give a little variety. But it isn't needed every day imo.

So no more tears. You give your dogs plenty of what they need and then some. ((((hugs))))
Thank you PB ! This is another angle I hadn’t considered. Everyone is so great with their dogs on this forum with doing activities that to me it is the «*ideal*» norm.
 

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Oh, I had a dog like Beckie who thought fetch was boring. Noelle is absolutely ball crazy which makes my life much easier.

There's a mini indoor agility kit available on Amazon. If you're looking for a simple jump for the living room, you're all set. Good for a toy sized dog. Not so good for a great dane. If you have someone handy, a PVC version is easy to make. Noelle has a PVC jump that my husband made.

You could also have a handy person make cavalettis. https://www.lifewithmutts.com/2017/03/18/13-diy-canine-cavaletti-kit-for-rehab-muscle-building-and-balance/

Let me think on this some more.
Thank you! Unfortunately I don’t have someone handy to help. I will look at the mini kit on Amazon.
 

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Also, what Poodlebeguiled said is true. A romp in the yard, a few jumps over a jump, and she's gotten more than what most dogs ever will. Agreed, the thoughts that you're not doing right by your dog need to go. Disability is tough enough. Let's not add guilt and make it worse. We do the best we can. Some days are better than others.

Some days, I borrow strength from tomorrow and push harder than I should. Then I pay the piper the next day. Other days, I rest just to make sure I have enough strength to do what I want. If you see that I was at a trial, know that I paid for it by spending a few days before and a few days after resting. Disability is with me always. I just do the best I can with what I have.
 

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If you need a few pieces of agility equipment and can't afford it, I'll contribute monetarily. Get a couple jumps or make some make shift ones. I use to use light weight lawn chairs, plastic garden stakes, you name it. lol. I got a tunnel at a garage sale. It is short...meant for children. But the poodles have fun with it. Otherwise find something online and post it....that is, if you are interested.

My Lab was like Becky. She'd fetch a few times, then tire of it. Some retriever, huh. My male Chihuahua, Jose`was tireless and was the best retriever I ever had. hahaha. Go figure, huh? Matisse retrieves but not perfectly. Maurice really isn't into it. He likes running after the ball but doesn't bring it back. I could teach him to if I was so inclined.

I don't do that much with my dogs these days. I do walk and hike, but that's not only for them, but I need it. (I'm getting fat!) Arrrgggghhhhh! I teach them what they need to be a joy to live with, (for the most part, eh-hem) a few little fun things/tricks and otherwise, been there, done that with the classes and I just want companions at this stage in my life and not to be so busy. Do I think my dogs suffer because they're not going to formal classes? On the days we don't take a walk, if it's bad weather or something...they don't mind. They might like a walk because they're use to it. But if they got unused to it, they'd go with that too. Like it was said, they are adaptable. That's in their genes and they just mainly want to be by their humans. So I hope you just enjoy each other and be companions. That's what dogs are really for. And visa versa. :angel:
 

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Also, what Poodlebeguiled said is true. A romp in the yard, a few jumps over a jump, and she's gotten more than what most dogs ever will. Agreed, the thoughts that you're not doing right by your dog need to go. Disability is tough enough. Let's not add guilt and make it worse. We do the best we can. Some days are better than others.

Some days, I borrow strength from tomorrow and push harder than I should. Then I pay the piper the next day. Other days, I rest just to make sure I have enough strength to do what I want. If you see that I was at a trial, know that I paid for it by spending a few days before and a few days after resting. Disability is with me always. I just do the best I can with what I have.
It looks like we both have very similar illnesses. i can relate 100% with what you wrote. It seems that I have been pushing too much the pas few years (although I don’t do very much) and now I have to do even less.

You’re right, it’s very hard living that way and all the good comments I am reading here are definitely helping me with the guilt. I can see that what everyone wrote makes sense, and I would probably say the same to someone else. I tend to be too hard on myself, like many people do.
 

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If you need a few pieces of agility equipment and can't afford it, I'll contribute monetarily. Get a couple jumps or make some make shift ones. I use to use light weight lawn chairs, plastic garden stakes, you name it. lol. I got a tunnel at a garage sale. It is short...meant for children. But the poodles have fun with it. Otherwise find something online and post it....that is, if you are interested.
You’re very kind and sweet, and I am very touched by your offer. I should be able to afford the little kit, if I can find it. Maybe you and Trick-N-Treat can help me train her to use it when I do.

Hugs to you. XXX
 

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NO! You are NOT selfish, because if you are that means I am too, and I totally refuse that train of thought!
From the time I open my eyes every morning I fight to be physically active and some days it is all I can do to walk to the kitchen to feed Molly....but I do, because I know I have to. I used to feel really guilty when she was younger because I knew she would excel at so many physical things like Agility or Luring and I was not able to give her those opportunities...........but she and I adapted with many indoor things as suggested here. Now, as she gets older she is happy to nap more than play...I also realized that our bond makes her happy..... and the games of indoor fetch or hide the treat (or me) are just frosting on her cake!
At this time I am still able, with much effort, to get outside on my scooter to take her out for about an hour a day........to a safe, enclosed, area of the church several blocks from my apt. to let her enjoy herself off leash. I can just sit and not have to move an inch and Molly can be a dog LOL!
So don't you dare feel guilty, just do what you are able to do, and know that she will accommodate you, no matter how your day is going!
 

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In my book you have no reason to feel guilty. We can't all be and do everything, so what we don't/can't do we make up for in other ways.
 

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You’re very kind and sweet, and I am very touched by your offer. I should be able to afford the little kit, if I can find it. Maybe you and Trick-N-Treat can help me train her to use it when I do.

Hugs to you. XXX
I don't want you to have one iota of stress purchasing something like that when you already have enough worries. So, seriously, show me what you find...if you find something and let me help...even if you can afford it. You can pm me or show me here. Don't give me any back-talk Chickla. :nono:
 
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NO! You are NOT selfish, because if you are that means I am too, and I totally refuse that train of thought!
From the time I open my eyes every morning I fight to be physically active and some days it is all I can do to walk to the kitchen to feed Molly....but I do, because I know I have to. I used to feel really guilty when she was younger because I knew she would excel at so many physical things like Agility or Luring and I was not able to give her those opportunities...........but she and I adapted with many indoor things as suggested here. Now, as she gets older she is happy to nap more than play...I also realized that our bond makes her happy..... and the games of indoor fetch or hide the treat (or me) are just frosting on her cake!
At this time I am still able, with much effort, to get outside on my scooter to take her out for about an hour a day........to a safe, enclosed, area of the church several blocks from my apt. to let her enjoy herself off leash. I can just sit and not have to move an inch and Molly can be a dog LOL!
So don't you dare feel guilty, just do what you are able to do, and know that she will accommodate you, no matter how your day is going!
Thank you for sharing your story. You’re absolutely right. Hugs to you.
 

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I believe our dogs love us for who we are, and if they don't, we know it. But I can empathize with having those thoughts and feelings. Jasper sounds like Merlin, but Miracle (even at 7) is much more like Beckie. When I first got her, I took her for walks all the time and she *loves* being outside. Then late last summer I started dealing with severe pain in my knee and leg (most likely nerve pain due to the symptoms), and it's progressively gotten worse. We went on fewer walks And then I injured my wrist and it's not getting better either; it's more difficult to pick her up if I need to. Some days it's hard to walk and I am missing out on things I would usually participate in; some of the places she would have come with me. So she has her toys, and gets to spend some time in the fenced in backyard (when she is being good), gets to watch people out the window from her favorite chair, and she seems happy. She also loves sitting in my lap and snuggling with me.

Another thing to add is that I think our dogs know we need them, and maybe they need to be needed. They might not be happy in whatever we think their "perfect" home might be. Our dogs have good lives and the lives they are supposed to have.
 
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