In early August 2013 Tui my Heading Dog was running and put her leg into a rut. The result was a severely damaged right knee 3 of the major ligaments were completely destroyed; the 4th had only 20% left attached. Two days later she had surgery to replace all these, the surgeon was Steve McGill of Matamata. She came out of surgery, with a leg full of plates and screws and a long time of recovery and recuperation ahead of her.
At about the 6th week post op. Steve gave the ‘go-ahead’ to commence Hydrotherapy with Jane in Te Puke at 4WetPaws I did not know how Tui would cope with this as up to then she would only paddle her toes in the lakes, never had she swum! However; Jane soon had Tui’s confidence, she was in the water with her, initially just building up her trust and going at Tui’s pace, never forcing the issue.
Week 3 had Tui eagerly accepting the support jacket and she was keen to get into the water. From here on Jane was able to take her through exercises that made Tui work ‘that leg’, initially she was very protective of it, but as time went by she used it more and more, stronger and stronger. Later on Jane put the jets of the pool on, which cause an increasing amount of resistance for Tui to work against. Nothing was ever hurried, nothing was ever forced, at all times Tui completely trusted Jane.
The exercises were embellished with retrieves in the water, Tui being restrained, a toy thrown and Tui released to make her own way to retrieve the toy and return to Jane with it. I strongly feel that this aspect of Fun is very important. Tui really enjoyed the exercises and the retrieves, it was Fun for her, therefor she was relaxed and willing to co-operate.
With the use of an underwater camera we were able to see exactly how ‘that leg’ was working and adjust exercises if necessary. Tui had 13 visits to Jane, initially twice a week, then once a week. She went from a dog who was tentative about using her leg to a dog who was not afraid to use her leg and returned to a normal life – plus the bonus of her enjoying swimming!
Thank You Jane for all that you did for Tui.