White Dog excitedly pawed the little package out of the mail stack. "They are here!" she announced "Puff's toe grips have arrived." Every pup came charging over to wait for us to open the package; Steve helped our Little Old Lady to her feet and steered her to my chair, "Go on! These are for You!"
Puff at 17 is beginning to have some issues with her balance and her ability to maneuver surfaces like our hardwood floors and sheet vinyl kitchen. She cannot seem to keep her traction as she goes then ends up on her belly with legs splayed or tangled all akimbo. When standing at her food bowl, unless she has a rug under her, she slowly sinks to a lying position to eat. She no longer has the back end strength to right herself and then push up against the slipperiness.
It embarrasses her and even though loving hands always appear to help lift her to her feet, she is a proud independent girl who suffers this as an indignity. She is fine outdoors and on carpeted areas but refuses to restrict herself to just those places.
Steve and I have talked about options that would give Puff more self determination in her mobility. Booties..."no way, she'll eat them," was White Dog's response. Gating her to limit her access..."like a punishment?" YoYoMa pointed out. We found nail tips that are attached with adhesive but Steve was uncomfortable with using glue on His Girl.
Candace saw an advertisement and forwarded it to me. Dr. Busby's Toe Grips. They are little tube sections that friction fit over each nail and provide toe gripping ability. I wasn't convinced of their ultimate value but felt we ought to at least give them a try.
Steve used dental floss (as directed) to measure the circumference of each of the nails on one front and one hind paw. We then used the fitting chart to find the range that best matched. Puff was a perfect "Medium." Nilla was excited for her, "Puff, that means your toe grips will come in blue!" Each size is a different color.
The package today revealed little short rigatoni pieces made of rubbery plastic. One grip goes on each toenail. Puff was semi-patient as I held her and Steve worked the tiny piece onto her nail into position. When he finished he set her on the floor.
In typical Puff fashion, she dd not rush into the kitchen to try out the gripping ability; instead she climbed into her bed and curled up to nap. It was later that I noticed my feisty one PRANCING around in the kitchen and swerving to avoid a thundering encounter with Zsofia. Yesterday, this would have knocked her to the ground and left her scrambling for footing.
As simple as the toegrips are, they seem to work. Steve adjusted their position after dinner and replaced one that had gone missing but Puff has been a happy camper all afternoon about her mobility. She is napping now as a result of the extra walking she has done confidently today to check on her siblings, drink more water, and patrol the house.
The grips need to be replaced every couple of months. I suspect over time they stretch and slide off. But if it keeps Puff on her feet and moving independently, then we will watch and daily adjust and replace as needed.