Many of you already know a bit about Bamboo (17 yrs) who I rescued in January of 2019 through K9 Spirit Organization, but what you may not know is that he has cognitive issues also referred to as dog dementia. Bamboo was this way when I adopted him so it has always just felt like part of his quirky personality, however it is not without its challenges.
Dogs like Bamboo with dementia often have an overwhelming need to pace around the room. They also tend to get stuck in places that you would never think a dog would even venture. And when your dog also has declining vision like Bamboo, getting stuck becomes a regular occurrence. So picture a dog that never stops moving, gets confused easily and really can't see very well and you can begin to understand the challenges.
At my home the most common traps for Bamboo have been behind the TV where all the cords are located, any type of side table that has an open area where he can put his head, any type of railing, behind open doors and the list goes on. I am often truly amazed at the places Bamboo finds himself and while it is easy to laugh, I can only imagine how unsettling it must be for him to constantly feel trapped. I knew I needed to find a solution to make life easier for him and for me, one that would be versatile so it can be used on so many different spots around the house, something that looked nice, could be easily moved if needed and one that would be an effective means of blocking Bamboo from getting caught up in these troublesome areas.
So the Bamboo Blocker was born. It is a free-standing accordion style barrier which means you can compress or extend it to fit a variety of areas. And not only is it inspired by Bamboo, but it is also made with Bamboo, such a wonderfully light and airy material that is environmentally friendly and blends well with most rooms. It matches our ramps perfectly and even though I now have five Bamboo Blockers in our small loft, which is where we spend the most time, I think it still looks really nice.
I am using three Bamboo Blockers to cover the rails. Bamboo cannot resist putting his face in between the slats and once this happens, he will start barking for help even though all he needs to do is turn his head to free himself; in his mind he is trapped and needs saving.
I have a Bamboo Blocker to guide him away from behind the TV where he gets tangled up in the cords. This was always the toughest place to free him from since it is difficult to reach in behind there without having to move the TV.
And finally I have one covering the access to a notorious side table that Bamboo would always try and go through instead of around, finding himself in all sorts of trouble as a result.
The accordion design has helped in being able to cover so many different "danger" areas. However, I also found that there were some spaces where I needed just a bit more length, while in others I had length to spare. The added benefit of the Bamboo Blocker is that with a few simple steps you can move a panel from one Blocker and add it to another to customize your lengths. I only needed to do this for a couple spots, but it made a big difference.
I am always super excited about simple solutions for challenging problems. Before I was literally freeing Bamboo every few minutes, but now we can both enjoy our down time free from stress. Now when Bamboo does his laps of the room, he can do so without getting trapped in any of these areas. He gets to the Bamboo Blocker and it gently guides him away from these tricky places. My hope is that this product will help other pet parents with senior dogs coping with cognitive issues, the way it has helped Bamboo and I.
Managing doggie dementia is not something people often talk about and I have even caught myself describing Bamboo as having a "little dementia" out of some desire to downplay his condition. I have since accepted and embraced it and I am constantly looking for ways to manage it because Bamboo is a happy, loving and spunky senior who with some help, can continue to enjoy life. Our perspective is often half the battle and with products that can help make challenging situations easier, we are finding new ways to make life better for our seniors.