I am so excited to have just released our Gentle Rise Bed Ramp. We have been working on it for the past year. I wanted to share what inspired me to design this particular ramp and some of the decisions and challenges we faced along the way. I believe it is so important to understand the why behind things because it says so much about the thought process and heart that went into all aspects of its creation.
I first started thinking about ramps around 5 years ago when my french bulldog Paige had some x-rays done. Her vet had noticed that her hips were showing some serious signs of trouble and he wanted to prepare me for mobility problems that would come from having problematic hips. He told me that I should start having her use a ramp and not steps because steps put too much pressure on joints and would be very painful for her to use. A ramp however would be ideal. At the time I had steps for my couch and my bed and could not see how the ramps available would work well indoors. I lost Paige to a rare form of lymphoma so I never had the chance to introduce her to ramps, but the seeds for a new type of ramp were planted as I began to think about how we could help others like Paige.
Then a few years later Milo, my pug mix, who relied on steps started to struggle with vision loss and he could no longer see the steps underneath him so he would literally jump off the steps in blind faith that he would land somewhere safe. He also started to have difficulty being able to get himself up the steps. Even though with small dogs you can easily lift them I have seen firsthand that dogs like to be able to do things on their own such as Milo putting himself to bed at 9pm every night until steps were not longer an option. Again I thought if he only had a ramp then he could help himself back onto the bed like he loved to do and exit the bed safely. My room is not very big and again I did not see existing ramps being very practical since to ensure a gentle slope we would need a very long ramp and current ramp models would take up too much space in my already small room.
Then my Shih Tzu Willow came into my life unexpectedly when I rescued her after finding her covered in tumors roaming the nearby highway. Willow was 12 yrs at the time and also had trouble climbing steps. She needed a ramp and I could no longer deny the role this product was to play in my own life with my senior dogs and knew that this would play a very special role in the lives of our customers.
The goal for this ramp was to have a gradual slope to ensure that senior dogs could easily walk up it and we wanted to avoid having the ramp stick out into the room taking up precious space. We also wanted it to make the dogs feel safe and secure so they would choose the ramp over trying to jump down. We have heard from so many customers whose dogs seriously injured their backs and some even became paralyzed as a result of jumping down from a bed, so we wanted to help prevent this from happening. In addition it was very important that we have a non-slip surface since many senior dogs have mobility challenges and we wanted it to be a product that could help dogs of all sizes from the tiniest to the largest breeds.
Our list of requirements did make this product more challenging than I had hoped it would be, but anything worth having is never easy ♡ To avoid having the ramp take up too much space we designed it to hug the bed. We added a side safety rail that can be installed on either side and went with a nice wide walkway.
A big hurdle came with trying to make it sturdy enough to be suitable for all sizes of dogs, but also lightweight enough to keep it manageable for pet parents. For the frame we went with Pine which is lightweight, but we needed something much stronger for the walkway. We tested a variety of woods at different thicknesses and even fiberglass and ended up selecting a finished poplar plywood which gave us the strength we needed without being too heavy.
We also spent a ton of time trying out different types of flooring. If you take a look at ramps today you will either find something similar to sandpaper or carpet - neither surface provides enough traction in my opinion. After testing a variety of surfaces we decided on a non-slip rubber flooring that not only provides great traction, but also has enough cushion to act as a shock absorber taking the pressure off your dog's joints. We found a US manufacturer that makes this flooring from recycled materials and I just love it.
I am excited to see the impact it will have on the lives of senior dogs and their families. The quality is amazing, the frame is made by a children's furniture manufacturer based in China with Pine imported from Finland. The non-slip rubber flooring as I mentioned is from the United States and everything is checked and packaged for shipping at our Canadian facility making this a truly global product that I can't wait for you to start using.
Our bed ramp holds a very special place in my heart because of my dogs that inspired me to create it. My dogs Paige, Milo and Willow have all passed away breaking my heart in the process, but I think of them every time I look at our ramp. Willow especially since she helped test it and was so great at using it and I could see the difference it made in helping her go up and down safely from my bed whenever she wanted.
Right now my senior pug Lily and my french bulldog Winnie continue to make great use of it. Winnie took to using a ramp like she was born to use one, but Lily took some coaxing with treats. She was perfectly fine to bark until I would come and lift her up, but terrified me because she would jump off the bed if I wasn't there to help. Since Lily has a bad back it is a huge relief that she can now use the ramp to exit the bed safely rather than risking seriously injuring herself. I also have to admit it is nice that she can use the ramp instead of needing me to help her each time.
This bed ramp is a special product, designed specifically to address the needs of senior dogs, but I also know that by aiming to solve these challenges, we have created an incredible product for all dogs. No dog should be jumping from a bed and all dogs deserve to be able to access their bed safely and easily, which I am betting is their favorite place to be.
I am so proud of this product and it will mean the world to me to know that it is out in the world helping others as it has helped me with my dogs. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this bed ramp and your stories of the role it will play in your wonderful life with your four-legged family.