About a month ago, Mark Fox and Tricia Sasaki went into Home Depot with their dog Echo, a regular in the store. They were looking to put new wheels on the dog’s walking cart, and Alfredo Burgueno, an assistant store manager, ended up building Echo a whole new ride: a cart that Fox and Sasaki can use to pull him around the house.
Echo has a genetic spinal disease common in boxers known as degenerative myelopathy, which causes nerves to shut down, typically beginning with loss of coordination in hind limbs. With his walking cart and new cart to lie down on, Echo is still able to get around the house and everywhere his family goes. And he always puts a smile on people’s faces.
“When we go to Home Depot he is just alive; he loves it,” Sasaki said. “We don’t go anywhere without him.”
About a year and a half ago, Fox and Sasaki said, they first noticed that Echo was dragging his back feet, which meant the disease was beginning to present itself. He began using the walking cart recommended by their vet. Recently, he began having problems getting around the house without help, and he cannot stand for too long.
Burgueno, who also owned a boxer that had a health complication, said he heard about their problem and ended up constructing the cart using a furniture mover as the base. He said he sees Echo as a customer, too, so he wanted to help.
"I love working with customers that come in and giving them a solution with something I know how to build," Burgueno said.
Burgueno later checked in to see how the cart was working. Fox and Sasaki explained that they were having trouble getting Echo on and off. Without ever being asked, Burgueno quickly built a new cart from scratch with stronger wood and locking wheels.
“Now we can go from room to room, indoors / outdoors,” Fox said.
Taking care of Echo the past year has not been an easy task. Fox and Sasaki both primarily work from home, allowing them to help Echo get around and even help him pee. The “blessing and the curse” of Echo’s condition is that he does not feel any pain — he is still a happy dog who enjoys going everywhere with his family.
“It’s a labor of love,” Fox said.
Fox and Sasaki left Hollywood five years ago to move to Bear Valley Springs, where Echo has spent his time chasing deer, roaming their property and going on frequent hikes. Echo is not expected to live much longer, but at 11 years old, he has spent half his life in a dog’s paradise.
“He’s still got life left in him. He brings out happiness in people, it’s amazing,” Fox said.
This article was updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, to show that Burgueno is an assistant store manager.