Category Archives: special needs

Massage for dogs with neurological conditions

I love working with special needs dogs of all kinds.  Last month, I had the privilege of working with two very special puppies at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – Kit and Caboodle.

These puppies, Siberian Husky crosses, are brother and sister and were abandoned at the age of 8 weeks in Missouri.  They found their way to Utah to be cared for and rehabilitated.  Their kennel is lined with layers of pillows and blankets because both dogs struggle to stand up, although they are getting stronger every day thanks to caregivers and volunteers who work with them on a regular basis.  They even have purpose-built mobility carts to help them!

These kids are approaching their first birthday and have puppy levels of energy and are interested in all that is going on around them; the veterinary team has managed their conditions through medications for nausea and nerve pain….

During my session, we filmed a number of videos with two of the volunteers observing what I was doing with the dogs – so they could replicate some of my actions.

With both dogs, I was interested in calming their central nervous system, relaxation, and lots and lots of stretching since their limbs are working very hard.  Despite their neurological status, both dogs had trigger points just like ‘normal’ dogs do.

I am very grateful for the staff who organized my work schedule so I could offer my skills to 10 dogs at the sanctuary.

And I watch with interest on the progress reports about my neurological babies.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Dogs in strollers: real men do it!

I’m so happy to be able to share these photos.

Kenny is a Blue Heeler/Bull Terrier cross.  Now 12, he’s survived a car accident when a puppy and then a stroke in 2011.

Not surprisingly, Kenny has a few mobility issues.  His back gets sore and his left side is weaker.   He gets regular massage and laser treatments from me which help to keep him more comfortable and mobile.

Like many other senior dogs with a few aches and pains, Kenny still wants to join his family when they go out.  Sometimes he makes it into his favourite park but then struggles on the way back to the car.

The solution, when Kenny gets tired, is to put him in a stroller.

Kenny with dad, Jason (photo by Elesha Ennis)

Kenny with dad, Jason (photo by Elesha Ennis)

Many men seem reluctant to be seen walking their dog in a stroller.  I say “Real men are happy to show that they care and love their dog”.  All credit to Jason, Kenny’s dogfather.

Dogs with mobility issues can live full and active lives with a little help.  Kenny is far better off getting the mental stimulation of family outings than he is being left at home.  Senior dog care requires management techniques; strollers and carts can play their part.

It's a long way back to the car...thanks Dad!  (Photo courtesy of Elesha Ennis)

It’s a long way back to the car…thanks Dad! (Photo courtesy of Elesha Ennis)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

The dog at the Presidential Inaugural Parade

The dog won’t be Bo…it’ll be this (not so little) fellow:

Independence, a dog balloon proudly wearing a Canine Companions assistance dog vest, will appear in the parade on January 21st.

Independence, a dog balloon proudly wearing a Canine Companions assistance dog vest, will appear in the parade on January 21st.

Independence will be the mascot for Canine Companions for Independence on their float in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21st.

Canine Companions will have 132 marchers from 14 states, with nationwide participation including assistance dog teams, volunteer puppy raisers, National Board Members and staff.

“Canine Companions is honored to be chosen to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. We’re grateful to be able to share in this historic day and to share our mission of serving people with disabilities worldwide,” says CEO Corey Hudson.

Canine Companions was one of 60 organizations chosen from over 2,800 applications. The theme of the parade is “Our People, Our Future”

Now, I wonder where Bo will be?

Deaf pet awareness week

The week of 23 – 29 September is Deaf Pet Awareness Week.

In many cases, when a dog is found to be deaf, it is put to sleep.   However, more frequently there are pet owners willing to take on these special needs animals.  These dogs can be trained using sign language and are just as intelligent as ‘normal’ dogs.

Deafness in animals can be inherited or acquired through trauma, drug reactions, or simply old age.   Dalmatians and Boxers are more prone to deafness than others. Thirty percent of all Dalmatians born are either deaf in one ear or  bilaterally deaf.   Some deaf dogs also have albinism, meaning that they lack normal melanin pigment in their eyes, nose, or skin.  Owners of these dogs have to pay special attention to sun protection.

The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund has a wonderful website with answers to questions involving the ownership and care of deaf dogs.

Use this special week to contact animal shelters in your area to find out if there is a special deaf dog waiting for you!

Firm comes to aid of disabled dog

When Lucky’s wheelchair was stolen, New Hampshire firm HandicappedPets.com stepped in with a new one.  Read the story here.

David Feeney with his dog, Lucky, in Lucky's new wheelchair. Photo by Matthew J Lee, Boston Globe.

Pet relief areas in US airports

In 2009, the US Government passed legislation requiring service animals that are flying to have indoor and outdoor relief facilities.

Here’s what the facility at Maui’s Kahului Airport looks like:

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Kandu, the two-legged dog

There are special needs dogs and the special people who take care of them.  Today, I’m sharing the story of Kandu, a Jack Russell who was born without his front legs.

Kandu’s initial owner thought that he should be euthanised but a welfare agency put out the call for owners willing to take on a special needs dog and the rest, as they say, is history.    Kandu is fitted with a special cart that allows him to run and play like all other dogs and he even has a special snowboard for winter play.