Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Rise of Frankendoggie

Margot is my dog-baby.  She weighs 9.6 pounds, cries when I go away, and loves to be snuggled with her head tucked under my chin.  She also knows that I am the alpha dog of the house, and listens to me much more than she listens to my husband.  He's a pushover with her (by his own admission, I'm not calling him out here;)

How can you not love that little baby face?


As a dachshund, we knew that the possibility existed that she could either go paralyzed, or require surgery at some point, as the breed is prone to back problems.  Their long backs sometimes can't support their spinal columns, and issues arise.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because last winter, Margot's back went kaput, she needed surgery, and my husband and I were told that she was NOT ALLOWED TO JUMP ANYMORE.  AT ALL.

Margot did NOT want a picture taken of her stapled back.  Poor Frankendoggie.


Whaaaaat???

All dachshunds do is jump.  Up and down, all around, onto and off of furniture.  Up and down stairs, onto your legs, your laps, your head (if you're sitting on the couch).  Jumping, Jumping, Jumping.  All.  Day. Long.

If she's not jumping, she's snuggled under a blanket.  Margot's favorite place to snuggle is the couch, hands down.  She burrows under a blanket, and there she stays.  In order to keep the jumping to a minimum,  I knew we'd need a dog ramp.  I began my hunt online and in pet stores, but all of the ramps I found were ugly and expensive.  I knew I could make one that would look better than one I could buy.  

I had some wood left in the garage, and began my measurements.  I took a tape measurer and measured from the couch down to the floor to a point that I thought would be both a minimal intrusion into the walking space of my small living room, but also an acceptable incline for Margot to travel up and down.  

I then measured the height of the couch, and used the Pythagorean Theorem (yeah, Geometry class) to create my measurements.  Tell your high school age children to PAY ATTENTION in geometry if they like to DIY and make things themselves.  It'll come in handy.  

Side pieces of ramp.  Please note beautiful asbestos(probably) basement floor tiles.

After cutting the ramp's side pieces, I attached them together using a few smaller strips of wood and wood screws.  I was planning on covering the ramp with fabric, so I didn't worry about making my cuts super neat and pretty.

These were the first two stabilizers- I added two more for strength after taking this picture.

After making sure that my ramp side pieces were nice and secure, I attached the actual ramp to the top with more wood screws.

Notice my pencil lines on the top of this piece.  Remember, measure twice, CUT ONCE.

After I got this far, my ramp sat in half-completed limbo for awhile.  I covered it with a beach towel and put it next to the couch for Margot to use.  It took some training with treats, but Margot got used to it, and probably uses it about 75% of the time when getting on and off the couch.

At this point, I stopped taking pictures of my ramp building process, so you'll have to bear with me and just imagine my instructions in your head.  If I had to have a dog ramp in my living room messing up my room decor, I was going to make it as unobtrusive as possible.  Our couch is from Crate and Barrel, so I stopped into the store to see if I could order some of the fabric our couch was covered in.  Jackpot.  They sell all upholstery fabrics there.  I ordered a yard (make sure you know how much you need, first!!  That fabric ain't cheap, yo.) and waited four weeks for it to come in from the warehouse.  

In the meantime, I made a stop at JoAnn Fabrics and picked up a piece of foam to use on the ramp.  Just covering the ramp in fabric would have made it too slippery, and Margot would have definitely snubbed her nose at it.  No joke.  I ended up just gluing the foam to the ramp before covering it with the fabric.

When the fabric came in, I cut it to the same dimensions that the ramp pieces were built in, plus a few extra inches on each side for seams.  I pinned the whole thing inside out on the ramp, and then took it off to sew.  And my machine broke.  UGH.  Fast forward several months and a new machine (heyyyy Janome) and my slipcover was sewn.  I wasn't worried about needing to take the slipcover off, so out came the staple gun.  I stapled the whole thing to the inside of the ramp base.  

Behold, the finished product:
Margot is a spoiled dog, is she not?

If your doggie needs a ramp, do it yourself!  As much as I love my dog, I was not willing to completely sacrifice a pretty space for complete utility.  I think I found a great happy medium!

What a delicious little dog we have here.

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