I keep paper records in my massage practice; sometimes the time-tested way is the best. I use diagrams as well as text in my treatment notes, something that is hard to do on a laptop or tablet without wasting a lot of contact time with the client. I’ve also lost count of the number of times I’ve traced back through notes in discussion with an owner. Being able to lay out these notes in sequential order is much more powerful than huddling over a computer screen.
And, as the end of the year approaches and I reflect on progress made during the year, I start to take note of the thickness of some of my files. These are dogs that have been with my practice for a while – usually more than a year and often much longer than that.
The thick file is both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because the owners of these wonderful dogs have allowed me to work with their animal regularly, and I get the satisfaction of seeing them make progress and stay healthy through a wellness program that changes as their needs change. And I also get the satisfaction of playing a part in giving these dogs and their owners quality time together.
It’s a curse because it’s a sure sign that the dog is getting older. The passage of time becomes more pressing; we are all aware that the dog is aging and slowing down. And as much as we want to keep them with us forever, our window of quality time is closing.
For some of my dogs, this will be their last Christmas. Their families will ensure it is a good one.
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand