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



Lisa Clifford holding two dogs

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Last updated: January 5, 2022

Dear Clients,


At Manitou Animal Hospital our primary goal is to care for your beloved pets. By extension, this means keeping you as a pet parent healthy as well. Many of you have already recently visited the hospital and have personally experienced the additional safety procedures we have put in place to ensure the well-being of you and your pets using our “closed waiting room” policy.

Our "closed waiting room" policy:

  1. When you arrive in the parking lot, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call 519-893-1360. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns.
  2. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination.
    We ask that you remain in the parking lot and keep your phone turned on.
  3. The Veterinarian will call you once the physical exam is complete to discuss the recommended treatment plan.
  4. We encourage credit card over the phone as the preferred payment method. We can also accept e-transfer.
  5. A staff member will bring your pet and any medications back outside to you.

During the coming months and as long as COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community we at Manitou will continue to offer our services using these enhanced safety procedures, including the curbside and closed waiting room service model. For the health and safety of everyone, we will not be able to have you accompany your pet(s) into the clinic for procedures at this time. We unfortunately would just not be able to meet proper physical distancing requirements and ensure your safety and our team's.

We typically have a significant number of clients [100+] visit our clinic daily whether it be for medication, food or for a visit with the veterinarian or vet technician. Space in the front room and the exam rooms is very small, a well documented factor for increased risk of COVID transmission. If everyone were to come inside our clinic, even with masks on, it would significantly increase the risk of COVID exposure to each client entering the clinic as well as our staff. We are simply not willing to risk the health of you, your family and our staff. We know that with continued effort we will get through this together. We sincerely appreciate your patience and help in working with us during these challenging times.

Until then, we promise to give each and every one of your pets the very best care and a ton of hugs and kisses when they are in for a visit. We always treat them as if they were one of our own and look forward to seeing them!


Your dedicated care team at Manitou Animal Hospital


We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Thursday: 8:00am - 7:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED