When set from school or colleges, homework could be a chore. But as an ex-academic now, I try to make the homework that we set our dog carers, more fun, informative and useful.
As well as treating the dogs we work with, we also treat the carers. Not physically (although some have come to Chris for a holistic massage session) but educationally. During a session, the carer is often so involved with watching how their dog responds to the physical therapy that they forget all the things we discovered and showed them about their dog.
This is perfectly understandable. We make sure that a treatment session doesn’t end without ensuring that the carer has been made aware of where the aches and strains were on their dog, how to help them with massage and rehabilitation exercises and characteristics to monitor so they can monitor progress or change.
To achieve this aim, every carer is sent a personalised and workbook for their own tailored homework. The workbook details :
• Where the issues were on their dog
• Massage techniques that could benefit each issue and area
• How to perform those massage techniques (with explanation and pictures)
• Pictures and explanation of any appropriate rehabilitation exercises
The Mums and Dads who do their homework become far more aware of changes in their dog and describe these in terms of gait, ability and muscle tone. It always raises a smile when a carer says things like “Les…I think the right thigh muscle is far less tight now and my dog is standing straighter”. This means they have been watching their dog and paying attention rather than just walking them.
Our homework seems to go down well and we frequently receive feedback about it :
“Many thanks for your email and our homework, we have started following the plan & think that he seems more relaxed & happy already!”
“I want to add that Les sent me the most amazing run down of what I learnt explaining everything really well to help my terrible memory not to miss anything out! Super happy with this as it is really clear what to do now.”
“We have exercises to do and detailed information on how to do the most good, which Les sent through pretty much immediately. We saw improvement in our dog’s walking after the session and following exercises believe this will make the difference he needs without pumping him full of drugs. If you are thinking myotherapy could be the way forward, we would 100% recommend and suggest Les at AchyPaw!”
Hopefully with all this homework, the dogs we help will have a greater and extended quality of life with an informed Mum or Dad. Don’t underestimate caregiver involvement.