Construction for a Cancer Patient: Josie’s Ramp

Josie’s Cancer Surviving Story And The Ramp We Built to Deal With His Handicap

by Sharon and Art Stefanski

Stefanski Josie's Ramp photo

In late November of 1996 our five-year-old greyhound, Josie, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. The outlook was not good according to three veterinarians, including a specialist. The recommended treatment was amputation and chemotherapy, and we were told to expect death in six to eight months. The cost would have been $5,000 to $6,000. These odds are great if you’re a bookie in Vegas – but not good enough for us. We began a regimen of Pycnogenol (an anti-oxidant new to the United States but used in Europe since 17th century); a multivitamin; vitamins C and E; and a drug known as Feldene.

Josie went into remission by New Years Day, 1997. Encouraged, we sought help from a holistic veterinarian who prescribed Chinese and American Indian herbal remedies. Josie was cancer-free until the unfortunate leg break in March and May of 1998. The breaks were through the lytic area of the left rear tibia. The cancer regenerated faster than the healing process. Josie’s leg was amputated in late August 1998.

As he nears eight-years-of-age, he weighs almost as much as he did when he had four legs. A $ 5,000 fur coat would not look or feel as good as his natural coat does. He is alert, bright eyed, happy, pain-free, and at times a brat.

If your dog comes down with a terminal disease, investigate all courses of treatment. What matters is the quality of life, cost Vs comfort and cure, selfish reasons, faith, and being a true a trusted friend to your dog. Swallow hard. Make the best choices for the friend who has given you so much.

Don’t wait to make a decision under stress. Open your mind. Research, listen, and learn as much as you can, and don’t think it can’t happen to your dog. Time is of the essence, no matter what course of treatment you choose. You can’t afford to waste it investigating and then anguishing over “What should we do?” Ask yourself, “What does our good friend want us to do?”

A Ramp to deal with his Handicap

Stefanski Ramp views

As Josie was learning to live with his handicap, we recognized a need to get him in and out of our van without always having to pick him up. We constructed a ramp for approximately $10.00 to $15.00. It took about 15 minutes to put together. It has been a great aid for Josie and for us. He uses the ramp to get in and out of the van for trips to the doctor and for errands with mom that he really enjoys. This ramp can also be used with most regular cars too.

Materials needed:

4 to 6 feet of nylon rope

4 L-angle brackets (2″). They come with screws

4 casters: 2 stationary and 2 swivel. They also come with screws

1 medium pile throw rug, 2 feet wide by 3 feet long

1 piece of plywood, 2′ x 4′ x 1/4″ or 3/8″ thick

Tools needed:

Tape measure



Staple gun


1.Smooth/sand all edges of the plywood.

2.Drill 2 holes in the top center.

3.Thread your rope through these holes. These create your handle or pull. Adjust to your preferred length. Make sure the knots are on the underside. Attach the casters after you pre-drill all the holes.

4.Attach the 2 swivel casters at the top of the board

5.Attach the 2 stationary wheels at the bottom.

6.Attach the 4 L-angle brackets, spacing them evenly to support the width of the board.

7.Center the throw rug on the board’s top side and staple into place. Use enough staples to secure the rug safely but not too many so that you can remove it to launder when necessary.

8.Insert the finished ramp into the door track area of your car.

Note: be sure to hold the ramp in place as your dog goes up or comes down. That will also reassure your pet that it is safe to use.

We have found the ramp is also good for transporting the dog in and out of the house when walking is a problem. You can carry your pet’s bedding, travel crate, food, and supplies on it too. Josie still looks forward to every car ride these days and is doing as well as can be expected.

Josie shares his home in Tinley Park, Illinois with his human mom and dad and newly adopted five-year-old ex-foster greyhound brother, Pilot (J.D. Stone Pilot). Pilot is a shy white and blue AKC greyhound. He has sparked Josie’s attitude, and Josie has been showing him that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Josie and Pilot regularly visit a nursing home where even the Alzheimer patients recognize them. We hope to get another brother or sister when we move to our next house that sits on one acre of land in Chesterton, Indiana.

CG F 99

 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED  This article is not available for reprinting or reposting. 


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