Saturday, November 7, 2009

My own project runway

Today I went to the local home improvement store with my sister to pick up some supplies to make a ramp on my front steps. Winter is soon upon us and the addition of the frost and ice in the mornings has made getting back in the house tougher for Missy than it used to be. She can go down our steps fine but going back up them is a challenge so I knew it was time. I started with an 8 foot pre-cut board which made it just the right angle.

I added some cut cross pieces for traction.

Then I added some no slip tape and a cement block for extra stability.

A training session later and Missy was going up like a pro. If I had to do it over I would make it just a little bit wider. Total cost $21.71 which isn't bad. I'm sure it could be done cheaper with different wood.

I may also bolt it to the steps to prevent slippage once my husband gets home and gives me some feedback. (he might not want it attached for plowing reasons) She has suddenly become very touch sensitive and hates being picked up. She lets up know by screaming her displeasure as she skitters away. I don't want to freak her out any more than necessary so hopefully the ramp helps solve that issue. If her coordination gets to bad I also have the option of adding sides so it makes a sort of chute for her. Or I can outfit her with a harness so we can help her balance as needed.
It wasn't a big project but it was an important one. I probably should paint or seal it for longevity but that is a project for another day. I am grateful that today's weather cooperated for me to get this much accomplished.


Katie said...

Looks good.

When Harv had his issues, I had him wear a harness 24/7. I had to put extra fleece padding on it so it didn't rub, but it gave me a handle to grab to help him when he was unstable that wasn't so intrusive as picking him up.

Lindsay said...

Excellent project, Marie! When my Sheltie, Shea, was in her later years, she couldn't climb stairs very well, so my father built her a series of ramps, very similar to yours. And we eventually had to put sides on it because her balance was a bit shaky. Shea was never very happy about being picked up, and she had a dog door her whole life (and the freedom that gave her), so the ramps made her last several years much better. It would have hurt my heart to take away that freedom to decide when to go out/come in, and then to add insult to injury by picking her up! I think that your ramp will make your sweet girl's winter SO much better!

Kamloops, BC, Canada

puppy train said...

Great project! you gave me some idea to create my own runaway for my dog now at least its not hard for him to go in and out of our house. Thank you so much.

Amy Carlson said...

Nice job! I will say, though, that I could not help but wonder how long it will last? Doing agility I have a ton of ramps and such and it always amazes me how fast they rot. Even when I bring them into the barn for winter storage!! They are primed and painted with two coats of paint, yet some just rot so quickly.

If you do decide to paint it, do it like an agility ramp. Prime. First coat of paint sprinkle a fair amount of sand on it. Once dry, paint over the sand with the second coat. Makes it really grippy all over, not just where the grip strips are.

I almost wonder if you could make it removable? That way in the winter you wouldn't have ice issues. Maybe you could put some hooks along the side of the house, to rest it on, so it doesn't get piled with snow/ice? Then you would be able to just place it down, clear and clean. You would only need to put it up during snow storms. All other times it could stay out for her. Just trying to think of all the issues we have during our long winters.

Marie said...

Katie, great idea about the padding. Thanks.

Amy, I forgot about adding sand to the paint. I honestly don't think I need to worry about it rotting before it is no longer needed unfortunatly. If that does happen I will just build something better. I like the sand in the paint idea. Will try to do that soon. I winder if they make a spray version of that? At this point it is also completely removable for shoveling and such.

Thanks for the feeback!