I have been worried about my old dog Roz for quite some time now.
When we brought her into our lives about 8 years ago, my vet informed me she had serious hip displaysia. Serious to the point of possible worsening to the point of inability to walk in later years. Roz has been having that difficulty for the past 5 to 6 months.
At first it was just a little hitch in her stride as we set about our morning walk. Then it progressed to a definite limp and lameness on one side of her back end. More recently it has worsened to the point of not being able to get up the stairs. She would fall and slide back down to the bottom and scare the tar out of me every time. It has worsened to the point where she cannot walk through snow deeper that 6 or 7 inches. It has worsended progressively to the point where she can barely walk and I must carry her most of the time.
Finally, I could not stand to see my loyal little friend in such pain. Watching her brought tears to my eyes and I would sit and hold her and cry. She seemed to know that my concern for her ran deep because she would always look up at me with her big, liquid brown eyes and just relax in my arms.
"Right now," I whispered to her last Thursday as I set her down and reached for Google. I set about finding an animal chiropractor to see if she could be given some sort of comfort. And, Google didn't let me down. I found one a 45 minute drive from my home in the small town of Pompey, NY. She was flying out for a race (she works on race horses) and would be back on Monday. She would see her that day!
This morning Roz was bundled into her bed already set up in the back seat of the car and we set out for Pompey. It took a a while to get there because it was snowing so hard and traffic was not moving quickly. I was afraid the kind Doc would think us a no show. But, just as we pulled into the drive of her farm, a small SUV pulled in behind. It was her! Also late due to the roads.
The first thing that the Doc did after we entered her barn/office area was take the leash of Roz and let her explore. She watched as Roz limped around her office, sniffing and nosing into the boxes of toys and horsey smelling blankets. After about 5 minutes, Roz came over and sat down at my feet, entirely calm and okay with the situation. Then the Doc sat down on the floor and motioned for me to do the same. With Roz between us, she began talking to her and running her hands lightly up and down her spin. After Roz was okay with being touched by this kind and gentle person, the Doc took Roz's hips in her hands and extended Roz's legs to the back.
She had one leg about 1 inch longer than the other! With that little bit of information flying about the room, Roz began to quiver in fear. Then the Doc gave one of Roz's hips a little tweak and Roz relaxed perceptably. Then a tweak to the other hip. Roz's tongue began to peek out of her mouth as it does when she is entirely relaxed. The Doc set Roz back down on all fours and began working her hands ever so gently back up the dog's spine, every once in a while giving a little push and re-aligning a stray vertabrae.
As she reached the center of Roz's back, Roz again began to quiver in pain. In the very center of her spine, Roz had a vertebrae that caused her back to have a slight bend; canting to the right as if her right shoulder and her right hip were trying to meet one another. Somehow, very quickly the Doc massaged that spot, got Roz to relax again and snap! Her spine was straight! And the vet continued her gentle journey up Roz's spine.
By the time she was finished, Roz was asleep, tongue lolling to one side as I held her in a standing position. As soon as Roz realized that her spa time was at a close, she turned around and gave the vet a big wet doggie kiss. The vet smiled and laughed. I smiled and laughed.
We both, the vet and I stood up to see if Roz would walk around for us again. And she did! She walked without the stiffness. She put weight on all four feet. She stood squarely on all four feet! I was so relieved. My worries for my little friend were set aside.
As Roz explored and looked around the Doc and I set up another appointment for her. But, this time, Doc comes to us! She makes house calls! SaWeet!!!!! My job for the next 10 days is to work Roz into and excercise program of walking daily, rain, snow, sleet or hail. She needs to walk to regain her strength in her hips that are severly atrophied due to her inability to use her hind legs properly. But, with time, her hips should be alright, considering the severe displaysia that she has.
I am relieved. I am grateful. I am excited for my old dog to get another shot at an active life.