Yesterday, Ketzl and I took the drive out to Shelburne Falls and visited the nice people at Eddie’s Wheels. And while it was good to say “Hi” to them, the main purpose was to get K’s cart retrofitted.

Her previous cart was a “neutral balance” cart—that is, when she’s in it, her front legs get the weight they’d usually get. But, as the disease has progressed over the winter, her front has become much weaker, and we’ve had to hold the cart’s “yoke”, pulling up to help take weight off. It’s hard to do, and none too comfortable for Ketzl.

The newly retrofitted cart is a fully counterbalanced cart with an “outrigger”—basically, front “training wheels” that let her take even more weight off, and also prevent her from collapsing, something that’s become more frequent. And, as of a few weeks ago, Ketzl started having placement problems with her front left paw—she’ll knuckle, put it down funny… basically, the disease has destroyed sufficient nerve tissue there that she doesn’t quite know where it is.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, sunny and clear. On the way back, driving along Mohawk Trail (Rt 2), I stopped and climbed the “Long View” tower to see what I could see. Rolling hills, roads crisscrossing, river valley, the French King bridge towering over the Connecticut River gorge below. The whole route before me, my next two hours clearly visible in the midday sun.

When I got back in the car and set off, I thought about Degenerative Myelopathy, and how—once diagnosed—the course is similarly visible: a high-level view of weakness, placement issues, paralysis, death. You navigate through it as best you can, take a detour or two along the way, but to get to where you’re going you have to go down the whole road.

Back on Route 2, up to speed after the rotaries and dropped lane diversions, I rolled down the windows. Ketzl’s ears flapped in the breeze and she panted happily. I poked my head out the driver’s side window and breathed in the spring air.