An occupational therapist has built a DIY stairlift to help her three elderly rescue dogs tackle the stairs in their old age.
Adorable elderly pugs George, 13, and Bodhi, 10, plus Boston terrier Sam, 10, were pampered with an incredible stairlift so they could travel in style.
Sonya Karimi, 31, from New Orleans, Louisiana, decided to build the mini lift when she adopted Bodhi two months ago, who had a torn knee ligament.
Video footage, which was posted on YouTube on July 16, shows the clever DIY lift in action, carrying the pooches up and down the stairs.
Sonya Karimi, 31, from New Orleans, Louisiana, decided to build a mini wooden stairlift for her elderly rescue dogs George, 13, and Bodhi, 10, Boston terrier Sam, 10 and her four-year-old pug Emery (pictured)
The dogs travel up and down the stairs in a wooden box, with a latch safely shutting them into the cart. A remote is then used to sent the pooches on their way, much to their delight
Sonya Karimi, who owns the four rescue dogs with her fiance Zach, decided to build the mini lift when she adopted Bodhi two months ago, who had a torn knee ligament
One of the pugs walks into the little wooden box and the hatch is shut behind the pooch, keeping it from jumping out halfway through the journey.
After the button on the remote control is clicked, the dog sets off down the stairs, looking very calm as it moves slowly down the wooden ramp.
As the cart comes to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, the dog easily steps out of the box on to an easily accessible connecting ramp.
The cart was designed so more than one dog can travel in the cart at a time, with one of the pugs being videoed joining Sam to go up the stairs.
Ms Karimi’s younger pug Emery, four, also enjoys travelling in the stairlift, even though the contraption was designed for his older friends.
Sonya, who owns the four rescue dogs with her fiance Zach, said: ‘Our most recent foster dogs Bodhi and Sam grew up together and are both around ten years old.
‘I noticed Bodhi was walking strange after we adopted him and found out he had a torn ACL. The surgery was going to cost around $3,000 (£2,700) and we didn’t know if he would do well under anaesthesia.
The quirky idea received an positive reaction from family, friends and even strangers online, after Sonya shared adorable pictures of her pets loving the lift
Sonya (pictured with her fiance Zach) decided to use her experience as an occupational therapist to help her own dogs, as she has seen how ‘helpful stairlifts are to people’
‘It only really bothered him when he was walking up and down the stairs – I’ve worked with geriatrics in the past and I have geriatric dogs so I thought there had to be some way to make it easier for them to get upstairs.
‘At work, I’ve seen how helpful stairlifts are to people so I was surprised there wasn’t anything similar for dogs with all the different products that are available for pets nowadays.
‘So I thought that we might be able to create something ourselves for our dogs to use.
‘They’ve adapted to it so quickly, I thought I’d have to train them for a while to get used to it but they just get on it as if they’ve had it for years!
‘The two older pugs love it especially – they won’t use the stairs, they will sit there and wait until the ride is ready for them and it’s so cute.’
The clever DIY project took around three months to complete, with Zach’s retired engineer parents helping the couple with the wiring, which is neatly tucked beneath the stairs.
They built the DIY stairlift using a powerful motor meant for a car (above) so they were able to sit more than one dog in the cart at a time
Sonya was surprised that stairlifts for dogs were not readily available for pets and embarked on the DIY project, which took around three months to complete
The family spent many weekends making the wooden structure and wiring, using a motor meant for a car so they could sit more than one dog in the cart.
Sonya said: ‘Both of my fiancé parents are living with us right now so we came up with a rough sketch of what we wanted, to show them and see if it was possible.
‘We took a lot of trips to home improvement stores and it was all trial and error – even something as simple as putting wheels on the cart was tricky because they didn’t make wheels small enough for what we needed.’
Once the stairlift was completed, the couple used treats to persuade the dogs to use the cart, before securing the latch and transporting them when needed.
Sonya said: ‘It was funny after we initially did the training because they would just sit in a line by the elevator thinking they would get a treat for it.
‘We’re proud that we were able to do it all from scratch.
Zach’s retired engineer parents (pictured with Sonya and Zach) helped the couple create the DIY mechanism, particularly with the wiring
‘I was so shocked there’s nothing out there like it, with a range of pet products and money we’re all willing to spend on our pets nowadays.’
The quirky idea received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from family, friends and even strangers online, after Sonya first posted adorable pictures of her pets loving the lift on Facebook on July 11.
Sonya is now planning to paint the stairlift like the famous streetcars in their home city of New Orleans, so her beloved pets can ride in style.
She added: ‘I did wonder if I was going overboard with the idea but once we posted about it, the amazing feedback I got confirmed even more that we did the right thing for our pets.
‘If you’re not a pet person you might think it’s crazy but our dogs are like our children so we’re willing to do anything we can to make their lives easier.’