Giving confidence to the owner and building muscle strength in their dog

Jack is a 13 ½ year old Springer/Lurcher/Staffie. He is now stiff with osteoarthritis all over exhibiting worse in his hip joints which have weakened. But other than his mobility issues, his Mum described him as in remarkable health for his age. That may well be down to the extensive research and care his Mum is taking for him. She checks out the pros and cons of everything. When I arrived, I was handed a list of the medication, supplements and food he is on – everything meticulously studied and balanced. And all his food is hand made with the same amount of care.

Mobility-wise, his Mum said he is a ‘plodder’. He was tentative when he got up and equally deliberate when going down – front end first then his backside. He needed a little extra to complement this jigsaw of multimodal care. Adding manual therapy is something that can give him a lift and, equally important, something his Mum can do daily along with all the healthy food preparation.

He was one of the “I love this massage and shall lie here……. Although maybe I’ll get up now and come back in a minute” dogs. Massage was on his terms. But when he was in the zone, he fully went with it, closing his eyes.

After an hour I handed over the skills to his Mum, who took to physical therapy like a professional, not that I had any doubts. We also went through a few gentle stretching exercises and our simple, quick and effective warm-up / cool-down routine.

Just before he left, he lay down, front and rear at the same time, without any hesitation – a big indicator of the benefits of the session. And later in the day, him Mum send me a post-session picture – a snoozing relaxed Jack.

The following day his Mum send me a message of another benefit of the session – and that was to Jack’s sister. His Mum wrote “I just wanted to tell you about this morning. I was massaging Jack under Pixie’s watchful gaze, and he did his get up and wander off routine like yesterday. The very instant he moved off she flopped at my feet waiting for her massage too. She was pretty comatose by the time Jack decided he’d let me do a bit more!”

In her review his Mum added yet another benefit “…..Perhaps the biggest thing Les did when he came to see our dog Jack last week was give me confidence. I was so worried about hurting Jack and Les patiently explained and showed me how I can help ease Jack’s aches, pains and stiffness safely and gently. The next day Les sent over a workbook that went over the session again and included exercises (more like games for Jack) that will help build his confidence and muscle strength again.”

It was never in any doubt that Jack’s Mum would fully embrace this addition to his therapy regime.

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