Enrichment with your dog doesn’t have to be physical activity : Charley’s story

“It’s so lovely….it’s not just about the fact that I’m helping Charley but it’s about the time we spend together”.

We first met Charley and his Mum in February when she put up a desperate plea for help on the Hanover Dogs Facebook group. He was struggling to walk, was clearly uncomfortable and, naturally, his Mum was beside herself with worry.

Having gained his vet’s consent to treat, on the first session we were able to not only offer him a thorough investigation and treatment, but also sent his Mum her own massage routine tailored specifically for his needs, some exercises, lots of ideas for household adaptations and some suggestions of other things she could add to his treatment plan.

Charley has now been on his own multi-modal regime for 4 months now : massage daily from his Mum (Charley knows it is massage time when the Emmerdale theme tune comes on), maintenance massage from us, frequent text messages between Charley and us, Yumove Advanced, Paracetamol, rugs and mats in all the previously slippy places, harnesses to help him up the stairs to bed, raised food bowls, safe stretching exercises and laser therapy (weekly at first and now fortnightly).

His Mum asked if I could come back to make sure she is doing everything right with her massage techniques.  Doing it right? Goodness, she was amazing. She was doing moves on Charley that were her own – techniques that ‘felt right’, that Charley clearly adored and, most importantly, had built Charley’s muscles back again. Intuition.

But it is the positivity in Beverly Ann’s attitude toward Charley which is the biggest change. After our first visit, Beverly Ann wrote “I think people can be a bit sceptical. I wasn’t but I was desperate to try anything and I’m so glad I did! I know the arthritis won’t ever go but we can make it more liveable. When we went for our walk, I felt far more relaxed with him, and not worrying so much. I’m sure he felt that too. The relief I feel is huge. And yes – my worry face has been replaced by a big grin xx”

“Massaging Charley like this, has given us an even deeper connection. When I massage his bad legs, he looks at me with such deep trust, knowing that I won’t hurt him. I thought Charley and I had the most amazing relationship before. Now there is something even more between us.”

Four months later and she said “It’s about us. It’s so easy to come in the door, say hello, give your dog a fuss but then carry on with doing the things that have to be done. And then you can find that you have forgotten to spend time with your dog or that time has simply disappeared.  With massage, I make sure that Charley and me ALWAYS spend 30 minutes together every day. This is his and my time and nothing gets in the way of it”.

Enrichment activities don’t have to be about getting your dog out and moving. Equally enriching is spending quiet time with your dog, giving them a beneficial massage on the bed.

#bemoreCharleyandMum #enrichment=quiettime

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