Earlier this week, two dogs in my practice passed away. As I was leaving one house for the last time, my human client said, “I wish we’d known about you sooner.”
I know it was said in context of a thank-you and while I wanted to reply, “so do I”, I opted instead to thank them for allowing me to work with their dog over the last couple of weeks to make him more comfortable. There was no need to make them feel more vulnerable (or guilty) at such a sad time.
The time for end-of-life and palliative care comes all to soon with our dogs – because they don’t live as long as we do. My real passion is health & wellness care, helping dog parents play ‘the long game’ through preventative health care and, if necessary, rehabilitation.
So I’ll finish this post on a high note. I also saw Blue this week. He’s been a regular since October 2017 when his Dad picked up a brochure for my practice at one of my partner clinics. He figured that since he used massage therapy for his health, Blue would benefit from it, too.
In the years I have been working with Blue, he’s developed arthritis and had one severe episode of breakthrough pain which saw him at the vets and prescribed NSAIDs. But since then, he continues to be a bright and happy boy. Ever so playful, usually meeting me at my car with one of his soft toys in his mouth. He is well looked after and taken for enriching activities including fishing trips to the Mackenzie Country and walks through the Heathcote Valley.
To me, Blue is a great example of health care – not sick care.
We’ve talked about when his time comes and what his Dad will do without his stellar presence in his life. But that day wasn’t today; I hope it won’t be for a while yet. And I hope I’ll be there to help him if his care becomes necessarily palliative.
Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand