Two years I was kindly invited to go and help Luther Weimaraner, who was then 10, by vet Guy from Coastway Vets. He and his Dads were almost at the end of the therapies they had left to offer Luther for his rear leg arthritis and resulting mobility issues.
Philip, one of his Dads, wrote, Luther was “a HUGE dog, over 50k at one point but always fed and exercised and loved very much. 2015 wasn't great for Luther, prostate removal, stomach problems and then the diagnosis that he was very arthritic. I was devastated, not least because I hadn't noticed the change in him because we're together all the time…….I had to keep going into other rooms to cry about losing him so he didn't pick up on the vibe - you know that sounds strange to some people, but when you bond with another life, you bond”
When Luther’s Dads heard of Guy’s suggestion of canine massage, they were a bit unsure – to put it mildly. Again, in Philip’s words “Guy said, "I know you'll think this ridiculous, but I know a chap who's a qualified dog masseur...and don't roll your eyes!" So I'm there, I've dabbled with massage, acupuncture, reflexology & Feng Shui, what did I have to lose? My best friend. So I called Dr Les kind of reluctantly. I mean I'm a realist, and the thought of paying to have my dog massaged.... But the universe gives you what you need - I'd known Dr Les for about twenty years, four times a week at the gym. He was a Dr at Brighton or Sussex Uni, and had helped me with some research for my job as a journalist but we had lost touch”
On the first visit Luther looked sad, no other way to describe it really. But he still had enough spirit to eye me up suspiciously at the start.
What to do with Luther? Answer : Just about EVERYTHING. He loved it. Philip said “From the first 6 weekly sessions, Luther wanted to eat again, go out, and didn't need the Tramadol. Les showed us how to learn his techniques and use them between visits”
Two years on and Luther is still up and about. He is now swimming weekly in the Hydrotherapy pool at House of Hugo. His medication has been changed appropriately (Tramadol removed and Rimadyl added) and now he had added thyroid issues and peripheral neuropathy. But he still walks daily – he has an A Frame back end gait and rolls his right back leg out a bit while walking but that is his way now. He even runs to meet me.
And I ADORE Luther. I really do. He and our girl, Sarah, are totally inspiring. They don’t moan, they get on with it. And that makes wanting to help them and their well-being even more special and important. To share that knowledge with a dog’s loving owners is a double bonus.
These days with Luther, there is no faffing about. I walk in and he is down on the king-sized massage mat ready and waiting before I’ve got my jacket off. 30 minutes into the session, he gets up and turns over so I can work with the other side. Every time. Without fail.
His Dads are really the best too. They have listened throughout. They probably know more about Luther’s muscles than they do about their own. I am sent videos of Luther walking weekly which I keep for comparative purposes. Luther’s new brother, Hugo, is also receiving massage from his Dads to keep him in top condition.
I couldn’t ask for more really. A lovely receptive dog. Owners who take note of what I say and work with their dog daily. And two more years with a dog who is happy and comfortable. Once again, to quote Philip “Get your dog massaged? Oh please! But if you have an aging dog that seems a little stiff, you may know how it feels yourself, at least look into this service. But if you love your dog, it may be the best thing you can do for them”.
If your vet suggests “It’s just arthritis”, give us a call and see how we can help you manage their condition. They may be getting older but they need not be put out to pasture yet.
Thank you My Luther