Sometimes behaviour and mobility are more related than imagined.
Wilf is a handsome 7 year old Cockapoo who was referred to me with repeated limping and stiffness in his rear legs. The vet had said that he has possible arthritis of his spine and hips but does present with stress and anxiety.
Talking to his Mum and Dad, they said that he has always been slightly anxious and would frequently bark if someone came too close to them. Despite his size, he is very protective to his humans. He also tends to be reluctant around larger dogs, preferring to stay away.
Two years ago, he developed a pneumonia type infection from which he recovered but then he started to display the occasional limp with yelping every now and again when being lifted into the car. Sometimes, in the evenings, he also struggles to get up as though he is stiff. Clearly something going on.
When I walked in, I was met with Wilf in full barking territorial mode. But I did as I do, and placed the massage mat down on the floor and sat by it. It took seconds for him to wander away from his Mum, sniff the mat and plonk himself by my legs. This was going to be a doddle.
He drifted into doggy bliss until I touched his left hips when I received a definite look. He didn’t pull away, it was just that look you recognise after years of doing this of “OK….that is a little sore…..but not enough for me to walk away”.
The session was mainly about empowering his Mum with a daily routine to help to alleviate his discomfort and hopefully enable him carry on enjoying himself without being anxious of other dogs possibly knocking him over which would cause him more pain. With Wilf, this was so easy – he loved the lot. Effleurage – mmmmmm, skin rolling – ahhhhhhh, kneading – bring it on. The works.
As the pictures show, by the end of the session, Wilf was anything but anxious or stressed.
A few days later, his owner wrote to me saying “Thank you Les for a terrific session. Wilf had his first session with us last night and even turned over himself, so clearly loves it. Thanks again"
I think that is a result