Stronger joints, more muscle, less fat and a healthier heart
With proper wheeling technique (please consult a PT, MD or other healthcare professional for guidance on this) and a carefully chosen, flat, smooth course, using the Hound-a-bout™ hands-free dog walking system to walk a dog from a wheelchair yields a high-repetition, low-resistance workout for the wheelchair user. This is important not only for lubrication of such joints as the shoulder and elbow, but also for building muscle mass around those joints – muscle mass that will help support them as they age in the face of doing far more work than they were ever designed to do.
That additional muscle mass will also perform another function – help the wheelchair user burn calories. This is especially important to a group of people that has lost the ability to use several of their muscle groups, which puts them at a profound disadvantage when it comes to burning calories. The problem of weight gain in the wheelchair-dependent patient is well-documented and is largely related to inactivity and/or over eating often as a consequence of injury-related depression or boredom. Walking a dog with the Hound-a-bout system helps address both of those issues. It not only requires the user to engage in moderate physical activity, but the act of taking care of a loving, loyal dog by walking him or her can also serve as an effective means of battling the blues or boredom.
Last, physical activity promotes cardiovascular health. According to a joint recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association, all healthy adults aged 18 – 65 need at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity, aerobic physical activity at least five times per week in order to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular (among other) disease. Rigorously wheeling with a dog attached to the Hound-a-bout hands-free dog walking system provides such activity and therefore extends this benefit to the wheelchair-dependent community.
Unbridled enthusiasm and unconditional love
You need only come home after a tough day and be greeted by your faithfully waiting dog to understand the concept of unbridled enthusiasm and unconditional love. Rather than holding a grudge for leaving him or her home alone all day, your dog instead views your return as the BEST thing that could EVER happen. And you get treated to this reception each and every day. You couldn’t possibly feel more heroic or more loved. That is, of course, until you let your dog out and give him or her a treat for doing “their business.” But it doesn’t end there. You have yet to offer them dinner, and following that, because of the Hound-a-bout hands-free dog walking system, A WALK! Not only do you enjoy the satisfaction of taking care of your faithful friend, but you get to witness first hand the fulfillment this care taking brings your dog. Being a dog’s primary care giver has time and again been mentioned by members of the disabled community as one of their main reasons for getting out of bed in the morning.
So in reality, most of the emotional benefit associated with the Hound-a-bout hands-free dog walking system doesn’t come from the system itself, but from the joy of dog ownership. The Hound-a-bout system facilitates responsible dog ownership for wheelchair users by helping them meet their dogs’ needs for physical and intellectual stimulation – the stimulation they get from regular and rigorous walks.
Dog lovers relate to other dog lovers. One of the benefits of the Hound-a-bout system that it took C. John, its developer, a while to realize was the social value to the wheelchair user of getting out to walk a dog. Suddenly, able-bodied folks weren’t looking to strike up a conversation about how cool the wheels on his wheelchair were, but were instead looking to talk to him as a “normal” person about “normal” person stuff – namely how cute his dog was, what was his breed, etc., etc. This kind of unanticipated socialization with outgoing strangers proved to be a surprisingly important part of C. John’s recovery.