11 February 2014


A few weeks back I mentioned our dog and the joint supplements we give her. While they do seem to help, she is 12-1/2 and a few months ago we noticed that she seemed to be having a bit more difficulty getting up the stairs when we came back from walks.

Winter only makes this more difficult, so we decided to find someone who could build us a ramp for her. I looked through some handyman-for-hire postings on craigslist and found a guy who had 30 years' experience and was based in Arlington, which is nearby. I emailed him with a description of what we wanted done and a photo of the steps. He responded and we arranged a time for him to come by to look over the area in person and take measurements.

A few days later he submitted a thorough proposal, outlining the materials he would use, how he would construct the ramp, and his price. We thought it over for a day or so and decided to go ahead. He called during my minor phone crisis a couple of weeks ago to ask if it would be okay for him to come and do the job that Saturday, so I had to wait until I got my phone working the next day to return his call.

That Saturday turned out to be one of the nice days between snowstorms. The contractor arrived right on time and set up his sawhorses and gear. I showed him where he could plug in a power cord in the basement and he set right to work. It took him less than two hours to complete the project, which I found impressive. The only thing we needed to do was add some sort of traction-providing material to the surface.

We went to the hardware store the next day, thinking we could find something with an adhesive backing, but the closest we came was some sort of tape that was only 2" wide, so we settled for rubber doormats which the Mrs. attached to the ramp with a staple gun. We then brought the dog outside and did a few practice runs with treats, to get her used to using the ramp.
Over the next couple of days we led her to the ramp after her walks. At first I picked her up and set her on the bottom of it, and she did go up the ramp fairly readily, though she seemed a bit unsure of it and sort of hopped up it at first. But she adapted to it very quickly and within another day or so she was going up the ramp without hesitation when led to the bottom. We've yet to get her to go down it again, but going down the stairs isn't as difficult for her as going up them. If she decides she needs it for going down, I think she'll know what to do.


Gramy said...

This is really great! Kudos to the handy man! I tried to picture it in my mind but now I get it! Hugs for London to use it & treats too. Gramy

Anonymous said...

Can I ask you how much this cost? Our dog is in a similar position, and I'm wondering whether it's worth it to hire someone or make it a DIY project.

Some Assembly Required said...

Anon: send me an email at someassembly (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll reply to you directly. If you are handy enough it's probably a fairly easy DIY project, but I have neither the skills nor the tools to build anything like this.

Allison said...

I came across this through Pinterest and it's just what we need for our dog - I'd love to hire someone and If I'm reading the page correctly, you're in the MA/RI area? I'd love any recommendations you may have for hiring someone, especially if you used someone that would be local - we're in Attleboro, MA

Some Assembly Required said...


The person I used is based in Arlington, probably not convenient for you. I searched under "skilled labor" on craigslist to find candidates.

If you contact me directly via email at someassembly (at) gmail (dot) com I can provide you with more details about materials and cost.

Joy Alleman said...


I live in Watertown, MA and need one of these for my old Lab. I will email you directly at the above address some assembly@gmail.com in hopes you can put me in touch with the person who built this for you.



Debra said...

What a great ramp- can you tell me how long it is?

Some Assembly Required said...

Debra: on the angle side (the ramp itself) it's approximately 11.5 feet long. I don't know what the horizontal measurements is; I never bothered to measure it. The height from the ground to the surface of the porch is just about 5 feet, and if I could remember any of my geometry I suppose I could figure out the horizontal measurement. I can tell you that the angle of the ramp is about 40 degrees, and I would have liked to make that number smaller if possible (a shallower angle), but our outside space was limited and this was the best we could have.

Debra said...

Thank you so much for your response and the info. We have a 11 year old Basset Hound with arthritis in her back and this would be perfect for her as our steps are also an issue for her.
Thanks again for your help.

Marie Osborn said...

I love this. I have someone coming out to give me an estimate to build a ramp coming off of my deck. I grabbed your picture to give them an idea of what I would like. I wonder if outdoor carpet squares would stick to the wood.

Marie Osborn said...

I love this! I have a company coming out this week to give me an estimate to build one coming off of my deck steps. I grabbed this picture to give them an idea for a ramp. This will work perfectly. I wonder if outdoor carpet tile squares would stick to it.