1) What is the story behind the name, HandicappedPets?
What were the inspirations to create it?
HandicappedPets.com was created in 2001 when founder Mark Robinson realized that there was a need for owners of disabled pets to have a central place to go online for information and resources.
He started a HandicappedPets.com discussion forum and began listening to the concerns of thousands of pet owners.
As a result, Mark began to search for and carry pet products online that would help pet owners better care for their disabled or injured pets. When he realized there were big gaps in what was needed and what products already existed to serve those needs, Mark started inventing products!
Thus, the Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair was invented – the first fully adjustable wheelchair that also folds flat for easy transport and storage. He wanted to make a wheelchair that was easy to order, affordable, and ready to ship on the day it was ordered (as opposed to custom-built chairs).
A Drag Bag, Male Wrap, Blind Dog Halo, Splints, Harnesses, and many other products have followed – all geared to making life easier for the pet owner by giving pets what they need to thrive and live active lives. As more products were developed as a result of listening to pet owners’ needs, it was clear that the company was serving a broader pet population than it had initially served. Most notably, it was now also particularly serving the needs of aging pets, as well as pets in all stages of life. So the company re-branded in 2017 to reflect that, and is now called Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com.
Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com has a large social media community on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube. A new initiative was started in 2018 called the Walkin’ Pets Care Squad to raise awareness of animal rescues and lend a hand in facilitating rescue adoptions by making sure disabled, injured, and aging pets have the equipment they need to put their best foot forward!
2) HandicappedPets has a wonderful pet blog - Walkin’ Pet Blog, which has inspired and helped many pet owners with a lot of useful articles. What are your purposes to start Walkin’ Pet Blog?
The Walkin’ Pets blog was begun as another means to:
1. Spread the word about products and resources that help pets stay active and healthy and make life easier for pet owners.
2. Make sure pet owners know that products, such as the Walkin’ Wheels, can prolong a pet’s active life, instead of euthanizing a pet because they didn’t know what was available.
3. Feature inspirational stories about disabled, injured, or aging pets.
4. Shine a light on rescues and nonprofits that are helping pets and pet owners.
5. Highlight pets who are in need of adoption.
6. Provide helpful pet care tips for pet owners.
3) Are you now pet parent to any pets? Can you share us an interesting memory between you and your pet?
I began working for Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com very shortly after my three beloved pets died, all within five months of each other. My dogs had passed their 14th and 16th birthdays and essentially died of old age, and my horse died of old age at a ripe old age of 38. I work in their memory and in honor of their precious lives. They taught me so much about life and the capacity to both give and receive unconditional love.
There are so many memories, but one that sticks out is years ago, when my horse contracted an equine disease and was very close to death. I stood in the pasture with her and wrapped my arms around her neck, promising that I would never leave her and wordlessly communicating to her how much I loved her. I felt a very tangible “response” – I knew that she “heard” me and I knew that somehow her body responded. She recovered, and we spent many more years together.
Caring for a beloved animal is indeed something that goes beyond words and is a true labor of love. It is a privilege, and it brings tremendous joy and richness to life.
4) What is the most important thing you have learned as an owner of Walkin’ Pet Blog?
As the writer for the Walkin’ Pets blog, the most important thing I have learned is the depth of love and caring that people are capable of when it comes to pets – it gives me hope for mankind!
5) As the owner of the Walkin 'Pets Blog, do you want to send a message to the pet lovers about disabled pets?
My hope is that the pet loving population will learn through our blog that disabled pets make GREAT pets and that there are products and resources available to help them live active lives. We made a music video last year as just a fun way to draw attention to how disabled pets can still be active and have fun with their owners.
Also, lack of mobility as pets age or become injured doesn’t need to be a death sentence; the Walkin’ Wheels pet wheelchair is a great alternative. Finally, I implore pet lovers to consider adopting the special needs pets awaiting permanent homes in shelter and rescues – it may be the happiest decision of their lives!
6) What are your goals for your blog in the next 6 months?
My goals for the blog in the next six months are to help disabled or aging dogs get adopted by spreading the word about them as much as possible, and to continue to educate pet owners about all the resources available to make life easier and better for their pets.
Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com endeavors to help people learn that there are alternatives to euthanasia, and that aging, disabled, and injured pets can often live a high-quality life for many years.
They might just need a little help, e.g., diapers, a rear-support leash, or a wheelchair. You’ll find lots of information on helpful products in Walkin’ Pets by HandicappedPets.com