The importance of rehabilitation therapy

Happy New Year, everyone!

Dieter is doing great!  He has still been getting around well, and has a lot of spunk and joy.  Next Tuesday is round #3 of chemo.  I can’t believe he’ll be halfway through that.  So happy.  He’s taking it well.  It seems to slow him down for the first week, then he slowly works his way back to the puppy he is.  I wanted to share something important that I learned today.

What I learned today:  Read, read, read, read, read.  The surgeon who amputated Dieter’s leg told me that I would not need rehabilitation therapy, that Dieter would learn on his own, over time, how to do stuff.  I did a little reading today and I learned that Dieter learning how to do stuff on his own does not mean that he will do stuff in the right way, to avoid injuries (either acute, or long term), especially since he is young and has not had a lot of hiking, swimming, etc to help him learn how his body works in a variety of physical situations.  I took my bed off it’s frame to lower it in the hopes that Dieter would be able to get up on the bed more easily and sleep with me, as he’d done before surgery.  The last three nights I’ve been working with him, with treats, to get him to see he can make it up.  He gets up on the sofa all the time and the bed is now the same height as the sofa.  All wrong.  I did some reading today and discovered that the way he does these things now can cause him injury and long-term problems as well.  He needs to learn how to do things in a way that will not hurt him, and I’m now starting to rethink how he does everything from walking, to getting into and out of the car (I basically lift him up, haha).  I realized that I need help.

I’m a student, and don’t have a lot of money, but I’m going to look into getting some help with rehabilitation therapy.  There are a couple of places in town with certified therapists and I’m hoping I can have one of them meet Dieter, and help  me come up with a plan that I can do entirely at home on my own (I can’t afford to take him to therapy sessions).

It just makes sense.  I had a shoulder impingement for *years* and finally had some PT for it a couple of years ago.  No issues since then.  Same with a bum knee I’ve had all my life – periodic PT has helped tremendously.  I now realize this applies to Dieter, too, and am taking the idea very seriously.  I think everyone should, for the long term health of their pet.

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Dieter update and Happy Holidays!

Hi all,

I’m sorry things have been a little quiet from my end.  Maybe it’s because things have been not-so-quiet around our house (s)!  Dieter has been doing great; he hardly reacted to the first round of chemo, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to get a total of 6 rounds in.  Round #2 is tomorrow (yes, Xmas eve), and I’m all set up with meds to help him if he has issues.  He was running with his extended pack all weekend, and has totally worn himself out.  But, the exercise and companionship was really good for him.  I can see his back leg is getting stronger, and in conjunction with longer walks, I will start some home exercises with him to help build his core and work those muscles on the remaining back leg.

I got a new car this past weekend, one that is much bigger and will ultimately be better for all of us.  In conjunction with that, I’ve purchased a couple of things that I think will make life in the car much easier for Dieter.  I will post a review of the items after we’ve had a chance to use them.  They are a non-slip backseat cover and inflatable “pillows” that fit the foot wells in the back, to create a wide, flat surface in the backseat of the car.

I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays!  Dieter wears his bandana proudly every day and I am so grateful for this community!  You all are the best, and I hope your holidays return to you what you’ve put out to the world in helping so many people with this process.

Much love,

Jennifer, Dieter and Otto

P.S.  Sorry no pictures this time around.  Family is coming in, so there will be plenty to share soon!