Tag Archives: special needs

Enrichment for the special needs dog

In my massage practice, I see quite a few special needs dogs.  These can be senior dogs who are slowing down for a variety of reasons, dogs who have been injured, and dogs who are terminally ill.  Some also have behavioral difficulties which exacerbate any physical limitations they may have.

One of the things I address with my clients is enrichment.

The dog may be physically limited in its abilities but is not impaired cognitively.  Like older people who have entered rest homes/nursing homes, or who are being cared for at home, these dogs need stimulation and variety.

Visitors, including other dogs, is just one example of an enrichment activity.

Another issue for owners in this situation is introducing variety by getting their dog out of the house.  If a dog enjoys car rides, for example, they may be happy just to take a drive to a new location with the windows down to experience new scenery and smells.

Kenny, a 13+ year old Bull Terrier/Blue Heeler cross, was taken to the beach recently - his smile says it all!

Kenny, a 13+ year old Bull Terrier/Blue Heeler cross, was taken to the beach recently.  He needed to be carried from the car to the beach but his smile says it all!

I know some owners who take their dogs for a take-out meal so they can sit in the car and enjoy it together – with snacks included.

Once owners have tried enrichment activities with their dog, they have universally reported to me an improvement in the dog’s disposition and general engagement.

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

 

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Special needs pets can make great companions

(Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)

Pickles, a Pug with no eyes (Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)

In this story (link below), the Newark Advocate talks about the adoption of pets with special needs and why their owners wouldn’t think twice about doing it again.

Meet, for example, Pickles.  Pickles’ eyes were surgically removed for health reasons but she still enjoys life!

Special needs pets can make great companions.

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

 

 

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!

Helping service dogs

Engineering students at Northeastern University (my alma mater) are working to design a product that will help service dogs.

Initially, the first-year engineering students were given an assignment to submit a design for an apparatus that would help service dogs to do their job.  This required the students to research what gear was already available and in use.

After submitting designs for things like an apparatus that would help a service dog pull a wheelchair in a straight line, the students felt there was unfinished business.  Working with their faculty sponsor and the University’s Centre of Community Service, these students are now pursuing product design and development in their spare time.

Read The Boston Globe’s story on this project.

Watch the video.

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

Special needs pets

On Friday evening, Prime showed a BBC documentary on owners of special needs pets.  It was great to see this issue being covered on New Zealand television because there are owners here who need support as they care for special needs pets.  I love working with special needs dogs in my massage practice and the owners of these animals are special people, too.

This is  Ollie, a Dalmatian who is unable to walk on his own.  However, he is not in pain and is very alert and happy.  His therapy regime includes massage and acupressure, laser therapy, and regular acupuncture treatments.  His strength in his front legs is improving and he has a mobility cart to help him with rehab.

Ollie in his mobility cart.

Ollie’s mobility cart was purchased from Doggon’ Wheels and imported into New Zealand because his owner could not find a supplier locally.  We measured Ollie for his cart and the cart was made especially for these measurements.

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