Figuring It Out

This is why we love going to Two Hands, Four Paws even though it’s stretching the budget.

Saturday we did an uncharacteristic two weeks in a row of physical therapy. While her cart had arrived the previous week, we were unsure it was going to work out. I made an appointment on Monday and then we went about our business. The first thing we changed on the cart was the back wheels – they needed to be lowered about a quarter of an inch. But other than that, we were concerned about the “slowness” of her progress. Having seen many, many videos of dogs being placed in the cart for the first time and then running all over the place with no assistance, we were wondering why Ardala was rolling backwards and seemed to need constant front support.

By the time I made the appointment, our regular therapist was already booked up. Instead, we saw a new (to us anyway) lady who worked with Ardala like she had been doing it for years. After the massage and cold laser, instead of our normal swim or underwater treadmill, Terri went through some floor exercises with us. For the past eight months or so, we’ve been carrying Ardala’s rear end everywhere – basically doing the job her core muscles should have been doing. We’ve been given a light stretching and workout routine which we will do religiously for the next two weeks. Red Monkey says it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to work our core muscles as well, so maybe we’ll make a a posterboard chart that we can add stars to for every set.

Oh, and the feet. I think we have worked out a compromise. For those who are unaware of the problem… she drags her left hind foot behind her and tears it up. Sometimes when she’s in her cart – not often, but more than never – you can see her left thigh twitch, or she’ll move it ever so slightly, like she’s thinking of advancing her leg. She swims perfectly, so that leg works. However, because of her self-injury, we have to put some protection on her foot. Once that boot is on, however, there is no more movement on the left hind leg. It’s almost like she’s dragging it harder just for spite. Furthermore, as she drags it, the boot slowly pulls off, leaving her foot two inches longer and making it easier for her to roll over it on the wheels. So. On her wheelchair-walks, we are using one of those Pawz booties that looks like a balloon. We have reinforced it with some fancy neon green cheetah print duct tape on the area that she drags. She still feels comfortable enough to consider using that legs, but she’s protected from the worst of the pavement. When she’s taken out on her butt harness, we go back to her boot. She hardly ever tries to use the left leg when she’s on the harness anyway. Yay! for compromise. And Yay! for inventive servant monkeys.

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