Have you ever had a pain so bad that it takes over your life? You can’t sleep, and every step or movement is tortuous. I did about twelve months ago. I strained a muscle in my thigh. I couldn’t get comfortable in bed and, every time I rolled over in my sleep, I woke up because the pain was so extreme. Getting up and downstairs was difficult and doing any sort of physical exercise was nigh on impossible.
Fortunately I knew what to do. Muscles are my life now so I knew I had to endure the pain for the first 72 hours (whilst the injury was still acute), helped by some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), before a visit to the sports masseur to get myself sorted out.
Of course, it’s all very different if you’re a dog. Firstly you can’t tell your owner what you are going through. You can’t pop to the pharmacy and buy some NSAIDs, so your best hope is that your doting owner notices that you’re feeling a bit under the weather, perhaps that you’re limping, your back is roached, that you can’t get up and down the stairs like you used to or that you sometimes yelp out in pain. If not you’re stuck with it, in the kind of agony that I was but with no respite.
Fortunately for two of my clients this wasn’t to be the case. I love it when owners get back to me to tell me the difference that the treatments have made. I can’t describe to you what an amazing feeling it is.
Pip is a nine year old Sheltie with arthritis and hip dysplasia. He competes in obedience competitions but had been unwilling to do a ‘sit stay’ for any length of time. Chrissy, his owner, suspected that this was because of the pain he was in.
He’s very shy lad. Only his owners could touch him, so his first couple of sessions were just about getting him used to the sensation of massage. On the third session I was able to work much deeper on him and Chrissy really noticed the difference. He was walking much more freely.
A few days after his treatment, I met Chrissy with her husband, Christopher and their other dog, Dusky at a local dog show. I’m delighted to say that he was able to sustain his sit stay (pictured) and was placed in the obedience competition.
Now let me tell you about Jack, a nine year old ex-racing Greyhound. Jack had number of issues that his owner, Sarah had noticed and she was concerned that these might be beginning to affect his quality of life.
I see a lot of ex-racing greyhounds. Due to their racing histories, these types of dogs tend to harbour a lot of muscular injuries so massage can be very beneficial. And so it proved to be the case with Jack. Whilst it would be true to say that Jack left us in no doubt that he hadn’t enjoyed his massage, the results speak for themselves. Sarah contacted me the day after his massage to let me know that Jack hadn’t slept in this position (pictured below) for years.
Now the kinds of results I’ve outlined above don’t sound so incredible, do they? A dog that can sit for a while and a greyhound that can sleep on their back. But when I think back to that painful time I went through twelve months ago, I know that being able to sleep in the position you want to or being able to walk up stairs properly again means that your life has been transformed from being focused on excruciating pain, to just being able to live life again. So it might sound mundane, but I think it’s pretty bloomin’ marvellous too.