Tag Archives: rehabilitation

You get out what you put in

In 2007, I was unlucky enough to rupture an Achilles tendon; the rupture also took the rather unusual form of detaching from the bone in the heel of my foot.  In most cases, these ruptures occur higher up the leg, with the tendon snapping in half.  I clearly remember my surgeon at the time warning me of the risk of re-rupture, which was entirely linked to the quality and commitment to rehabilitation.  Many people don’t commit to the time and consistency that rehab actually takes and they pay the price of exercising too strenuously too early, or not following the instructions for self-care.

Every rehab program can have setbacks and mine was no different.  It took a year but I fully recovered.  I went to physio for all the obligatory ultrasounds, etc.  But more importantly, I did my exercises at home.  All the toe raises, stretches, massaging and walking.   I kept a journal of everything.

This personal experience has helped me greatly in my dog massage and rehab practice; it’s given me great insight into the frustrations and joys of rehab.  And the main lesson I learned was that the substantive part of my rehab program was my responsibility.

The same is true of a dog’s rehab program – well, sort of.  The dog doesn’t know what it has to do, it’s the owner’s responsibility.

And that’s one reason why I practice on an in-home basis.  I see many dogs in need of strengthening, stretching and/or toning exercises.  I always aim to make these exercises simple, and using items that are easily found around the home or sourced for a reasonable price.  (I also have a hire pool of equipment, to also ease the burden of rehab care.)

Adjustments are often needed to match the dog’s abilities.  And that comes with practice and feedback from the owner.  And we work together through any setbacks.

I tell my clients:  “To a large extent, you get out what you put in.”

Rail walking at CBBR

Cavaletti rail practice at Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue (Charlene with Caesar)

Many clients have goals – it could be that the family is going on vacation and wants the dog in better shape (or fully recovered) when the dog goes to kennel or to another family member.  It could be that the dog is in the care of a re-homing agency and the dog needs to be better before adoption.  Or, the goal may simply to have the dog better before summer so that the family can enjoy the beach or the park again, together.

Like personal training, goals are great.

To achieve them, we get out what we put in.  I enjoy being part of the owner’s team to achieve those goals.

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

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Seeing is believing

As the saying goes, “seeing is believing” and I have found that this holds true when educating people about the value of dog massage and complementary therapies.  My profession is not well known (yet) and so it’s important to me to help spread the word in a positive and enjoyable way.

Yesterday, I had a massage tent at the ASB Summer Starter, an annual fun run and walk where dogs are encouraged to participate.  This was my first year supporting the event (I tried last year but no one responded to my enquiry – so that’s progress!).

When people see how their dog responds to massage, even at a busy outdoor event like this one, it helps to open their eyes about complementary therapies.  Fit dogs can still have trigger points and knots, just like humans.  There was even a tripod on my table yesterday – healthy and happy – but a body that will need support going forward as the dog ages.

And I hate to think that people take exclusively the physio approach to their dog’s health – that is waiting until they are hurting or injured before seeking treatment. (Physiotherapy NZ’s definition of physio is ‘to help restore movement and function to anyone affected by an injury, disability or health condition’).

So yesterday was about showing people a taste of what massage and other therapies can do for their healthy dog.

Seeing is Believing.

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

The Champions

In my local community of Christchurch, New Zealand, I am sponsoring a community viewing of The Champions, a documentary by Darcy Dennett.  Proceeds will go to four local dog charities:  K9 Rescue and Rehoming, SPCA Canterbury, Dogwatch and Christchurch Bull Breed Rescue.

This film, which follows the story of some of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, is a good news story.  It makes you think about recovery and a dog’s capacity to endure and survive.  Since I am very familiar with the work of the Best Friends Animal Society, it is also great to see the work done by them and BADRAP in San Francisco in finding these dogs homes.

I commend this film to you and encourage you to see it for yourselves.

Champions_Movie_Poster_Download

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

Previous posts relevant to the Vick case and dog fighting include:

 

 

Teddy’s journey: core strength

Teddy continues to be a happy boy.  During his appointment this week, we discussed two aspects of Teddy’s rehabilitation:

  • Variety/mental stimulation
  • Core strength

Jill remarked that she and Teddy now have a routine, but it means the same walk every day in the same location, and of course adjusting to limiting his activities to avoid stress and strain on his joints.

The solution:  variety!  Teddy’s is a smart boy and he needs jobs to keep him mentally active.  Little things like distributing food around the house and garden for him to find will provide Teddy with stimulation and something else to do.  Changing paddocks for Teddy’s walks and even getting other dogs to visit with him for play dates will also give Teddy variety in his day-to-day life.

And, as mentioned last week, Teddy needs greater core strength.  I showed Jill the value of supervised balancing exercises using a large peanut-sized ball from the FitPaws range.  These exercises, done on a soft surface that ‘wobbles’ slightly, require Teddy to balance on his 3 remaining legs.  In doing so, it means he works on his core muscles to keep his body steady.

I want greater core strength in Teddy before progressing to exercises for his proprioception.

And in case you missed it, I’ve already answered What’s proprioception?

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

Teddy concentrates as Jill helps him to balance

 

Teddy core strength photo

Teddy’s a little unsure about these exercises, but trusts Jill

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

Teddy’s journey: Teddy on wheels

Teddy has had another good week; he’s still getting used to being an amputee, however.

Jill and his acupuncture vet, Susanne, both noticed that Teddy was hopping on his right hind leg – balancing mostly on the stronger left side.  By the time I saw Teddy on Friday, Teddy was already improving thanks to acupuncture and an osteopathic adjustment.  I spent most of his massage session working on tension in his upper thoracic spine, and giving his hind legs a good stretch.

Because Teddy still needs to be confined, without the opportunity to engage in lots of vigorous off-lead exercise, Jill has found some novel ways of getting Teddy around the house and their lifestyle block.

She started with his crate and a flat deck trolley (a dolly to those in North America)…

Teddy's crate

and added Teddy for a trip around the house…

Teddy the Beagle on wheels2

…and then she purchased him a pram on Trade Me (New Zealand’s equivalent of eBay) and can take him around the paddocks with the other Beagles.

Teddy the Beagle in pram

The pram has an added benefit, too.  Teddy has to balance in it because of how it rides on springs.  This is helping him build strength in his core – essential to achieve our goals for rehabilitation.

Tell me what you think of Teddy’s wheels!

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

National Holistic Pet Day

Today, 30 August 2012, is National Holistic Pet Day.

This is the day to celebrate all of the ways we can care for the ‘whole’ dog – their physiological health and their mental health.

As a canine massage therapist, I’m naturally a supporter of holistic approaches because I help treat dogs with acupressure, laser and massage therapies.  I also help dogs with rehabilitation programmes, even measuring dogs for mobility carts when necessary.  I also like to use bach flower remedies.

Here are a few ways to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  • Treat your dog to a massage
  • Take your dog to the local hydrotherapy pool for a fun swim
  • Walk your dog in the fresh air and enjoy each other’s company
  • Take advice on feeding biologically appropriate dog food to your dog
  • Brush your dog’s teeth (and keep it up!)
  • Take your dog to a homeopathic or holistic vet for a check up
  • Look in your cleaning cupboard and throw away all of those chemical cleaning products – buy natural based products as replacement or even learn to make your own cleaners using natural products like vinegar and baking soda

Whatever you do – enjoy National Holistic Pet Day together.  The best thing you can give your dog is your time.

I’m friends with a Pit Bull…and so are 2,764 others

A  Pit Bull named Little Red is proving to many folks that Pit Bulls are lovable creatures deserving of a good home.  I’m proud to say that I’m one of Little Red’s 2,765 Facebook friends (and she’ll probably have more by the time you read this).

Little Red was rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz kennels.  From there, she traveled to Kanab, Utah to the Best Friends Pet Sanctuary for rehabilitation.  Known as ‘Vicktory Dogs,’ all of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s properties were segregated from all non-staff at the Sanctuary under court order.

It took years to see Little Red come back to a state where she could be adopted.  Her adoptive owner, Susan, never gave up hope about Little Red after seeing a photo of her shortly after her rescue.  Susan sponsored Little Red and kept in touch about her progress.  By February 2011, Susan was able to go to the Sanctuary to visit with Little Red.  In September 2011, she was cleared to be Little Red’s foster mother.

This is their story:

There are still those who believe in breed-specific legislation and it is dogs like Little Red that prove that these rushes to judgement are unnecessary and unwarranted.

I’ve previously written (June 2011) about Michael Vick and the book concerning the rehabilitation of some of his Pit Bulls.

Thank heavens for the good people at Best Friends who took in so many Vicktory Dogs and worked with them on the long journey to rehabilitation.

Source:  Best Friends Sanctuary Stories