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Walking My Old Dog and Loving It!

Tucker is a 14.5-year-old Sheltie, and I love him. Years we spent walking for hours, hiking every weekend and generally not stilling still. In typical sheltie fashion, he is an avid ball dog and would never tire from playing fetch (in his younger years).

Watching him age has been an awakening. The first 13 were all about “us,” but now its all about him, and how much I can thank him for the first 13. Last year we had to hide all his tennis balls because his shoulder would hurt afterwards and days of limping followed. As long as he didn’t see them, the game was out of his mind, and he was happy. He walks were slower and shorter, but ever-present. Usually, just me and him – as his slower pace could be frustrating to my teenage kids. This summer while being sprayed by the hose (another of his favourite games) he ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee – he couldn’t walk at all. My heart broke.

We discussed options with his doctors. He was small (only 19.5 lbs.), but elderly. Would surgery be an option? Could he heal enough on his own to walk again? He’d never be completely stable, and arthritis would affect things, but he already had arthritis, so it wasn’t my main concern. In the meantime, he was getting his teeth cleaned because he had a painful tooth that needed to come out, and it was during this procedure, we found out he had an irregular heartbeat. My decision was made with no orthopedic surgery for Tucker.

Initially, I carried him everywhere – out for a pee, up to the bed, whatever he needed. Then slowly, he could stand on his own – knees shaking and follow me. Awesome, this is like physio, for him, but we missed our walks. Well, of course, the solution was a short trip to the pet store and a 10-minute assembly job later. A Pet Stroller! He is so determined to walk on his own, and we start slow and see how far he can make it before his hindlegs start shaking. Sometimes it is only a block, other times all the way around the small block. I always let him take mini-breaks. Then voila its stroller time! He settles in and allows me to clip his collar in for safety – then we are off! He gets to see the world a little higher than he has his whole life. Feel the wind on his face, and he travels faster than he has for years!

Walking Tucker is now one of the highlights of my day again. Passing fellow walkers, they always smile when they see him leaning his head against the side, relaxing and enjoying the ride. I always ruffle his head when we stop so he knows I’m there – and let him out a bit from home so he can finish our walk on his own 4 feet. Always so proud of himself!

Last night my cat walked with us (well, she followed us despite being told to go home) and I think he felt he had something to prove – he walked faster than he had in a long time. Maybe we are on to something!

Written by: Rebecca Menary, RVT

Category:

Blog

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Last updated: July 2, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 15, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

5. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm (food and medication pickup only)
- Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Manitou Animal Hospital Team