Old dog, two story house

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Jen
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Old dog, two story house

Postby Jen » Sat May 05, 2018 7:09 pm

Two story house, main living and sleeping space on second floor. How big a hassle would it be with an old, creaky dog who is used to basically having doormen at her beck and call because her current house is configured in such a way that her humans are never more than a few steps away from a door to let her in/out and the main lounging couch literally only requires leaning forward slightly to play doorman?

We don’t have to move, aren’t really looking to move, but found a house that is in a gorgeous location with an enormous 1.5 acre yard and 48’x40’ shop for DH. It has three main drawbacks - 1) it’s a fixer but it’s a bunch of affordable fixes 2) it’s got a 0 walkability score because it’s a few miles from town on rural roads, which isn’t a problem with an old, creaky dog. She’s fine with the 1 mile neighborhood loop, but it could be a problem with a younger dog down the road and 3) the big one in our mind - it’s two story.

What do you think? We’re still waiting on a few answers to questions and it already has a contingent on sellingbuyer that we could bump, so it’s far from a done deal, but every time I think about the house, I want to do it except for Bella.

whiteboxerboy
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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby whiteboxerboy » Sun May 06, 2018 8:13 am

Ohh sounds so neat but I understand all of your questions, too.

Could you have a horse on the property?? 😉

I missed neighborhood walks when we lived in BoxerLand. I really think Gringo missed living in a 'hood, too. I think he missed seeing neighbors & dogs regularly. Pi seemed to love BoxerLand but I got lazy out there and there wasn't anywhere nice to walk nearby so when we moved back to a 'hood he needed work initially and it took time but he's great now. So, all that to say I'm torn when it comes to living in rural area. It's great for dogs to have room to run and bunnies to chase but a really social dog may not love it.

Two story? I've never lived in a two story house and have never had an older dog. As an OT my question would be how are your knees? LOL
In relation to Bella, would she be able to do the stairs? Does she sleep with you guys/in your bedroom now? If she can't do the stairs will she miss that? Is there a way to make a living space downstairs so you spend more time downstairs and Bella doesn't have to do the stairs?

I'm interested to hear what others have to say.

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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby emmas_mom » Sun May 06, 2018 9:31 am

Bella is an old, creaky dog already? How did that happen - seems like only yesterday she joined your family! But in response to your concerns, I think the biggy would be if you had to carry her up and down those stairs. Even with one of those harnesses that help you lift their rear end, it is still a tough job to get a very old larger dog up and down more than 3-4 steps. I know I had trouble even lifting Sadie and Charley into the car when they got old - they always seem twice as heavy when they can't help themselves. And old dogs often need out in the night, as well as needing to pee more often (in my experience), so you could be going up and down those stairs multiple times a day and night.
On the other hand, Bella sadly won't be around forever, and if this house feels like it is what you want for the long term, it is worth considering - as long as you can find a way to accommodate her needs. Is there a ground level area that could be used for her AND where the family might spend a fair bit of time?
As for walkability - when I lived in rural areas, I found it a bit of a drawback when I had young Emma and lived on one acre, but we just went to good walking areas via the car. When I had old dogs and five acres, it wasn't a problem at all.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby Jen » Sun May 06, 2018 9:59 pm

I think he missed seeing neighbors & dogs regularly. -- This wouldn't be a problem with Bella, I don't think. I think her stress level might actually go down without seeing neighbors and dogs regularly. She does like to watch the world go by, but she has "opinions" about how some of them are doing it, so it might be better for her to just watch squirrels and ducks. That's a good point for a more social dog, though.


s an OT my question would be how are your knees? LOL Mine are fine. DH's are used hard in his job, so he's going to get creaky before I do, I think. ;)
In relation to Bella, would she be able to do the stairs? Does she sleep with you guys/in your bedroom now? If she can't do the stairs will she miss that?
She hasn't had to do stairs in forever, so I don't know. She can do the 2-3 steps that she has to for getting in and out of the van or at a park, but it's clearly a struggle on some days. She sleeps in our room, and yes, she would be devastated if she couldn't do that. She has to keep an eye on her sheep at all times. She even worries when we're not in the same room together. So if we bought this house, it would have to be with our willingness to do what it takes to let her be in our room. The bedrooms are on the main floor, though, so it's only going outside that's the issue, not going from living area to bedroom.

Is there a way to make a living space downstairs so you spend more time downstairs and Bella doesn't have to do the stairs? //
Is there a ground level area that could be used for her AND where the family might spend a fair bit of time?
Yes, the house is what they call a daylight ranch here. You enter from the front door and there are immediately 5 steps up and 5 steps down. The 5 up in this house go to what is basically a standard 3bed/2ba house with a huge deck off the kitchen and master bed. The 5 down go to a bonus room, laundry room, and garage door with a slider to the yard from the bonus room. So we thought we could probably set up the bonus room to be our main television watching, office, reading area. But she really prefers to follow us from room to room and we tend to be "up and down" rather than settle in, so the more I type this the more I'm talking myself out of it...

And old dogs often need out in the night, as well as needing to pee more often (in my experience), so you could be going up and down those stairs multiple times a day and night.
Right now the routine is that DH goes to bed late and takes her out before he goes to bed, and I get up very early and let her out when I get up. So she usually goes only 5 hours between yard breaks. We were wondering if you could teach an old dog new tricks and just get a patio pee spot for the deck, which is right off the master via slider.

Bella is an old, creaky dog already? How did that happen - seems like only yesterday she joined your family!
I know! Can you believe it! She's almost 15!

Thanks for the input. Sounds like it's worth considering but considering carefully. And, like I said, they still have to accept our offer and don't seem to be in any hurry to answer our questions, so it's still a long shot. :)

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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby connie » Mon May 07, 2018 9:35 am

That's a tough calculation to make. My sister's 14-year old Beardie passed away last year, and she won't get another dog until she has moved out of her two-story house -- but hers is a big old American Foursquare and the stairs are much more of an issue than in a daylight ranch house.

I think the question I might focus on is: how long do you think you will live in the house? If you think you'll be moving elsewhere in 5 years, say, and it's likely Bella has 4 years left, then it wouldn't make sense to me, there would be too many adjustments to make to keep her comfortable. But if you think you're going to stay in the house for 20 years, and you think Bella has 4 years left, then the house might be right for you even though the next couple of years will include some work-arounds for your senior girlie.

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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby SherriA » Mon May 07, 2018 10:00 am

I've never heard of a daylight ranch. Is that what I would call a bi-level? Or is it like a "daylight lot" where you can have both the front door at street level, but the lot slopes so that the basement can be ground level in the back?

The house I rented before I bought this was what I call a bilevel - door at street level, immediately 10 steps up or 5 steps down. One of the main reasons I finally moved (I'd rented there for 10 years) was because Oliver was having more and more difficult on the steps, and since steps were always necessary, it was becoming a safety issue. I gated the stairs so that he couldn't follow me up and down (living area was upstairs, bedroom and bathroom were down, so there was a lot of up and down!) and he didn't much like that, but he still had to go in up and down several times/day to get outside and back in. There were no accommodations I could make to adjust things for him, since the only thing on street level was a small stair landing. (I bought a cape, but it met the requirement that we could live on one floor - bedroom, living area, kitchen, bathroom all at street level)

I think Connie is right in that you need to think about how long you might live there in relations to Bella's years left and how significant the changes you'd need to make to accommodate her would be.
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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby Jen » Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 pm

Or is it like a "daylight lot" where you can have both the front door at street level, but the lot slopes so that the basement can be ground level in the back?
I think so. It looks like a standard ranch house from the front, but the back side looks like a two story house.

We decided against it. Got some answers to a couple of questions that weren't quite like we hoped, and we just really kept coming back to the non-dog-friendliness and especially non-senior-dog friendliness. Assuming we did want to stay in it 20 years and get another dog in 3-5 years, we'll have a second senior dog right about the time we ourselves are becoming seniors. :hmm:

A rural home on a quiet street in our price range that is also dog friendly is out there somewhere. Luckily, I don't have to have it right this moment. :)

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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby connie » Tue May 08, 2018 5:49 am

I agree, you'll find your house. :)

Maybe because I've grown up in residential areas of the city, I would feel the lack of a neighborhood around me if I moved to a rural or semi-rural area. I do love neighborhood walks with the dogs, and I love not being cut off from things and services I need when the weather is bad, for instance. (This morning I'm going to a yoga class at the yoga center that is three blocks from me. :grin: )

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Re: Old dog, two story house

Postby Aubergine » Tue May 08, 2018 10:26 am

How steep and wide are the five stairs? Would it be possible to build ramps for her to use?

We always joke about getting a stairlift for Becky :lol: She's still pretty spry and we have like 13 stairs to get to the main living area of our house. She takes her time and seems okay. She pulled a muscle in her leg after a particularly chippy cookie fight last month, so we were schlepping her up and downstairs and... wow. 50lbs of Basset is a lot to lift!

ETA: just saw that you passed on it - another house will come your way!


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