The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 11, 2004


Cleo gets a new leash on life

Cleo, almost 10, in her custom-made cart, takes a breather on her way up School Street. (Photo by Kay Fairweather)
No, she is not practicing for the soap-box derby — and yes, dogs who are crippled for a variety of reasons can walk again.

Cleo's hind legs are very weak due to a neurological condition called degenerative myelopathy. It is not painful but it is progressive and there isn't a cure. She has trouble standing and can walk only by dragging her hind quarters on the ground. It was time for a new way of getting around so Eddies Wheels in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts came to the rescue — a few simple measurements, a phoned-in order, and in two weeks, a cart custom-made to Cleo's specs.

The first time of use was an occasion of trust, bewilderment, and finally a little bit of acceptance. Now she looks forward to using the cart just as any dog looks forward to a walk. She is gaining skill with it, she can back up; do very tight U-turns, and catch a Frisbee as well, if you throw it right to her.

The cart itself is lightweight yet sturdy and strong, and the return of the bright-eyed look of the dog is a thing of beauty. You can learn more at A dog called Hamilton, in Chelmsford, let Cleo test his cart before getting one of her own. If anyone has a dog of similar size (80-pound German Shepherd) and would like to test-drive Cleo's cart, we would be happy to accommodate them. Send a note to

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito