Article & Photos by Bree Kunkel
Noodle is a dog my husband, Kyle, and I decided to adopt after hearing about her from a friend. She was a cute little black puppy around 4 months old. Every adopted dog is a special dog but Noodle was going to require some extra special attention. Noodle was taken to the Everett Animal Shelter in Washington State because of a traumatic spinal cord injury. We don’t know how it happened or who brought her to the shelter but we knew that she would not regain use of her back legs. We maybe had 30 seconds of pondering before knowing we wanted to adopt her.
One of the main reasons Kyle and I have moved to the Pacific Northwest is all the access to outdoor activities. We did have a fearful thought in the back of our heads when adopting Noodle, “Would we not be as active outdoors because of adopting a dog with special needs?” We adopted Noodle knowing our goal was to provide her with a way to indulge and enjoy in any dog related activities that strike her fancy. We are both physical therapists and finding ways to adapt so that people can enjoy their passions is very important to us. We hoped that we could provide adaptations to Noodle’s life that allow her the freedom every other dog has.
Our little Noodle girl was an outdoor lover just like us. We started taking her on longer and harder hikes with her scooter that has cambered wheels for stability. She loves swimming in the lakes and riding on our paddleboards. It did not take long for Kyle to know that his hobby of bike camping was an adventure he did not want Noodle to miss out on. I had just started getting into biking myself. A Burley Tail Wagon was quickly on our “must buy list” in order to bring Noodle along with us.
The answer to that tiny voice in our head saying we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the outdoors with her was answered with a resounding NO. Noodle motivates and inspires us to spend even more time outdoors than ever before. How we enjoy the outdoors is different then a year ago, but different feels so good.
The Tail Wagon was going to provide us a way to adapt biking for Noodle. Our trial run was 7 miles with some friends around our home area of Skagit Valley. Destination? A brewery of course. Noodle did great but was very vocal. She would not stop baying like the hound mix we think she is. We soon figured out that she wanted to feel the wind in her big ol ears so we rolled up the front cover and she just sat and enjoyed the views. We have taken her on multiple day rides, bike camping on Lopez Island and most recently on snowy trails with the We! Ski Kit this winter.
The Burley Tail Wagon allows Noodle to keep up with us on a bike trip that she otherwise would not have the physical strength to do. Her scooter fits perfectly on top of the Burley and we secure it with Velcro. Noodle can run alongside of us in her scooter. When she is done she can catch a free ride, as long as we keep that front cover open so she can still feel the wind.