Couple built custom stairlift for their 3 elderly rescue dogs struggling to climb the stairs

We’ve read many stories about pet owners going the extra mile to make sure their furry companions live comfortably. This story about a couple and their senior rescue pugs is a shining example of that.

When Sonya Karimi from New Orleans, Louisiana, adopted her pugs George, 13, Bodhi, 10, and Boston terrier, Sam, 10, she noticed that they had trouble going up the stairs because of their mobility issues.

Out of all the three, it was Bodhi who struggled the most due to his torn knee ligament.

Three pugs on a bed

Sonya, 31, wanted them to be able to get to the second floor on their own, so she decided to build a “doggie-vator” for them!

Made from wood, the doggie-vator is a stairlift that will get the dogs upstairs and vice-versa in no time. With the help of her boyfriend, Zach Grate, and his retired engineer parents, Sonya completed her DIY project within three months during the quarantine.

A stairlift for dogs

The structure uses a motor meant for a car so that it can carry more than one dog at a time. Its wiring is neatly tucked underneath the stairs. With the push of a button, the lift takes the dogs up to the second floor and back down.

The wooden cart moves slowly so that the dogs can stay relaxed during the ride.

Sonya and Zach found out that Bodhi had a torn ACL right after they adopted him. The surgery for it was going to cost around $3,000, and they weren’t sure if the dog would do well under anesthesia.

Sonya is an occupational therapist who frequently works with the elderly, and she has seen how helpful stairlifts have been to people with mobility issues. 

“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,” Sonya told Metro UK about how she came up with the idea.

Pugs climbing a wooden ramp

With the different products available for pets nowadays—and the money pet owners are willing to spend on them—she was surprised there was nothing similar for dogs on the market.

“So I thought that we might be able to create something ourselves for our dogs to use,” she said.

Sonya and Zach thought they would have to train the dogs to use the stairlift, but as it turns out, they didn’t have to. The senior dogs get on it as if they’ve had the contraption 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,” Sonya said.

Even their 4-year-old pup, Emery, likes to ride the doggie-vator.

Sonya Karimi and Zach Grate with their dogs

Sonya plans to spruce up the stairlift by painting it to resemble the famous streetcars in New Orleans.

Initially, she worried whether she was “going overboard” with the idea. But once they shared it on social media, they received amazing feedback from those who saw it.

That positive response cemented their belief that they did the right thing for their precious 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,” Sonya said. 

I think many people would agree that this doggie-vator invention is not “crazy” at all. Dogs are family to us, and they only deserve the best!

Here’s a video of the doggie-vator in action.

What do you think of this stairlift for dogs? Let us know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Couple built custom stairlift for their 3 elderly rescue dogs struggling to climb the stairs”

  1. I love this so much. It just shows how much you love them and want them to be safe. I see my cats as family and NEVER just a pet. I would do anything for my cats.

  2. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Our pets are human beings to us and they deserve all the help they need

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