Stairs can be a nightmare for elderly pets and their owners. Once dogs get to a certain age, climbing up the stairs can be a challenge, and going down can be dangerous. Often, humans have to make do by either carrying their pet up and down the stairs (and installing gates to keep their dog from taking a terrifying tumble) or making accommodations for their pet to stay on one floor only.

A New Orleans-based woman named Sonya Karimi came up with a brilliant idea for her elderly rescue dogs: a “doggie-vator!” That is, a custom-built stairlift designed to hold one dog at a time as they go up or down a floor. The lift is human-operated, so one of the pups’ humans has to be around to load them up and make sure they make it all the way up or down, but it keeps the dogs from unnecessary work or danger, and it keeps the humans from having to haul the dogs up and down.

Here’s the doggie-vator in action:

One of Sonya’s rescues, Bodhi, came to her with a torn knee ligament. As an occupational therapist herself, Sonya told Daily Mail that she was looking for a stairlift for pets — similar to the ones they have for people who need some trouble getting from floor to floor — but couldn’t find anything.

Three of Sonya’s four dogs are ten years old or older, so when Sonya and her fiance, Zach, decided to build it, it was really just a solid investment for the household. Even their four-year-old pug likes to use it from time to time!

It took Sonya, Zach, and Zach’s parents a total of about three months to build the doggie-vator, but it was certainly worth it. The dogs have taken to it easily, and now, they can go up and down as they please (as long as a human is around to help, of course)!

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