2020-07-07 This original post was posted almost exactly 10 years ago today. I updated my website earlier this year. The videos on this post no longer worked so I had to reinsert them.
I am not someone who holds resentments. I am a very forgiving person. Updating this post, 10 years later, still brought me to tears. The way Eddie Wheels treated us is to this day is sickening.
I teach people to let go of guilt after their animal passes. I know how hard it is. I feel guilty to this day, that I ever subjected Maia to this cart experience. I know she flies peacefully in Heaven. It is my living amends to her to share this experience so other dogs are not hurt.
The original post was written in a time of great sadness and anger. 10 years later, I feel the same way.
Original Post 2010-07-10:
Here is the story of Maia and the Eddie’s Wheels cart. In less than one month, Maia makes a rapid decline and had to be helped to heaven. My feeling is the cart played a huge part in it. This is our story:
It starts off in late July:
Outside of the cart Maia has limited use of her hind end. Her muscles have atrophied and her toes turn over. She is wobbly but she gets around with some falls. Her front end is strained but still pretty strong.
I received the cart on Thursday from CARE in Santa Monica. To make a long story short they tried to send me home from there with the cart not fitting correctly. I was very concerned Maia would be injured in it and insisted on calling Eddies Wheels. The people at CARE where nice but had no idea how to fit the cart properly. We (care and I) sent Leslie at Eddie’s wheels pictures and video of Maia in the cart and then Leslie told us how to readjust it. When I got home, I called Leslie again because I still did not feel comfortable with the way the cart was moving and she gave me further adjustments.
It is almost impossible to get Maia in the cart as a single person. I have to lift her hind all the way up and down into the saddle. If Maia struggles a little bit I am worried I am going to hurt her badly.
The cart is heavy for Maia to pull. It bangs back and forth (sideways) on her while she is walking. When her hind legs are in the stirrups they make her hind go in an awkward position and throws off the balance of the cart throwing the weight on her shoulders. The wheels are at a very strange tilted angle. When Maia comes out of the cart she can barely walk. She is hunched over and tilted drastically to one side. It takes about four hours for her to be able to walk normally or walk at all. Her back is also in pain from trying to keep the cart from not banging into her.
Video of Maia walking in Cart Day 4:
Video of Maia walking crooked after getting out of cart:
Video of Maia walking Day 2 of cart:
Video of Maia Walking in Cart Day 1. This is how CARE wanted to send us home before I said I wanted to call Eddie’s Wheels:
At one point I was worried the wheels were going to run over Maia’s legs. You will see this if you watch closely. The bars are slanted and it is not tall enough for Maia. This forced her body into a hunched position instead of being straight.
Video of Maia Talking About Her Cart:
EDDIES WHEELS REFUSED TO TALK TO ME! Carole was helpful in the beginning but then Leslie the owner never called me.
ON SAT AUGUST 21TH I paid a canine physical therapist that works closely with a veterinarian to work with Maia and me and the cart. She brought her engineer friend. They worked with us for 1.5 hours and thought they had it fitted correctly. Since everything is welded they adjusting the height to the finest measurements and added cushion. They were very caring and concerned.
ON SUNDAY AUGUST 22TH MAIA COULD NOT WALK AT ALL. BEING IN THE CART HAD CREATED THAT MUCH PAIN.
ON MONDAY AUGUST 23RD I HAD MAIA PHOTOGRAPHED BY A PHOTOGRAPHER. MAIA WAS STILL IN PAIN FROM THE CART.
ON TUESDAY AUGUST 24TH. MAIA BEGGED ME TO SEND HER TO HEAVEN.
HERE IS THE LINK TO MAIA’S PASSING STORY CLICK HERE
THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT THE EDDIE’S WHEELS CART CREATED DAMAGE TO MAIA’S BODY THAT COULD NOT BE REVERSED.
I KNOW WITH ALL MY HEART THAT IT SPED UP MAIA’S DYING PROCESS.
I REGRET EVER PURCHASING IT AND EVER PUTTING HER IN IT.
I had a fully Counterbalanced Cart for Maia. It is for dogs that have serious physical problems and will be degenerating. It was not supposed to be as heavy as it was and it was not supposed to cause her as much pain as it did. I know with all my heart Maia was not worse than the dogs they describe. Maia’s cart damaged her.
From Eddie Wheels: All standard carts can be upgraded to counterbalanced by the acquisition of new axles, brace bars, and a support strap. For pets with serious forelimb deficits will remove up to 40% of the weight borne on the front legs. For dogs with advanced DM, cervical IVDD, osteoarthritis.
If you are looking to buy a cart:
Do not spend your money on Eddie’s Wheels. Custom-fit is not better.
They have a no refund policy which means they will not help you.
And if you beg for help they say it will cost another $150 or more.
What I learned:
You have to lift a dog high to get them into the cart. This can create great pain in the spine if issues are already present.
Very difficult to do alone if you have a big dog.
The yoke may poke dog on the side if the dog struggles/wiggles a little bit.
The saddle can be very tight on the pelvis and is not always welded at the right angle.
The saddle needs more cushion.
The cart is heavy for dogs that are weak in the front end even though I purchased “counterbalanced”.
The front strap pulls on the shoulder too much. Similar to a “easy walk” harness. Which is working against a dog that is trying to move forward.
If Maia moved fast, this cart would lose balance and sway from side to side making the wheels come off the ground. I was afraid it would knock her over.
The side rails would slam into her side as she moved. Which created a great amount of stress on her spine and the muscles on her side. I would like to have seen them padded.
I would also like to see a belly strap on all older dog carts. This would give extra support to the delicate spine.
This cart can come with stirrups. When I placed Maia’s legs in the stirrups (I was careful to follow directions) the weight of the cart would be thrown forward and rest on Maia’s shoulders. Making it impossible for her to walk forward with ease.
If I put her in this cart for 10 minutes she could not walk for 4 hours afterward and when she did she was crooked from the cart banging into her.
Many dogs that use these carts muscles are in the beginning stages atrophy. The muscles get bruised from the slamming.
The company will tell you that this pain is normal when they are getting used to the cart. I believe that if the cart was a good design Maia could be more active in it, making her more tired. But her pain was from bad design and a bad fit.
Maia was measured and fitted by CARE in Santa Monica, CA. One of Eddies Wheels Authorized facilities. I paid an extra $150 for this service. This did not guarantee a custom fit.
I was very unhappy with this cart and with the customer service.
* I would like to offer my pet psychic services to any other company that would like to know how their pets are feeling in their carts. I would like to honor Maia by helping other dogs. This offer stands to know matter how much time goes by.
When I contacted Eddie’s Wheels to tell them about Maia’s passing. Eddie’s wheels were insensitive! I received this email:
From: “Leslie DeGraff-Grinnell” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: August 30, 2010 2:20:53 PM PDT
To: “‘Laura Stinchfield'”
Subject: RE: from laura stinchfield
Our sincere condolences on your loss. Unfortunately, had we been informed that Maia had a heart condition before we accepted your order, we might have advised against purchasing a cart. However, you neglected to give us her entire medical history.
As you can see days after I ordered the cart (after the weekend – and way before the cart even got started being built) I wrote this email to Eddies Wheels telling them about Maia’s heart:
Subject: from laura Stinchfield – ordered cart for Maia GSD / wolf
Date: July 10, 2010 7:16:39 PM PDT
We talked on the phone the other day about a cart for my gsd / wolf Maia. I was at Care in Santa Monica.
Maia’s weight alarmed me! I believe it was 62lbs (at her prime she was 115lbs). Because of it I took her to my regular vet. There she weighed 69 lbs (still alarming) and got diagnosed with a heart problem. I am going to try and get some weight on her.
A few things:
1. I wanted to let you know about the weight. I don’t know if it makes a difference.
2. Also we walk a lot at a grassy / dirt park and on dirt roads. So it is important to me that Maia has wheels that are easy for her to walk on that terrain. see below
3. CONDITION: Maia’s hind end is deteriorating rapidly. Her hind muscles have atrophied and are virtually non-existent. Her front end is very strained from pulling around her hind end but she is still strong in the front end. She has started to compensate with her front by bowing her elbows in and her paws out. She is amazing with her torso and can shift her body to catch herself going down a few stairs or if she goes to fall. I am worried about her front end lugging around the rear much longer. Her left rear is worse.
She has been diagnosed with that heart problem but she still has the stamina for a 20 min walk twice a day. Though now only on grass because she is dragging her hind so much and they will bleed. It looks neurological with the flipping of the toe.
4. How long do you think it will be?
5. Please contact me when her wheels have been shipped.
Thank you! We are very anxious 🙂 As I am sure all your buyers are.
All my best, Laura
Here is Eddie’s Wheels letter to AMEX when I tried to get my money back. They not only mock me as a pet psychic but they also say:
“Caring for a disabled animal takes work and commitment, and despite our guidance and tutorials, Ms. Stinchfield is now too helpless to lift her dog into the cart and use it.”
Now if they think “I” (a Professional Pet Psychic, Animal Trainer & Behaviorist)- who dedicates my whole life to the welfare of animals is too helpless to help my dog use an Eddie Wheel’s cart, may I ask what about the average pet owner? And exactly what “guidance” are they talking about?
Laura Stinchfield Has Been Featured On/In: