One thing to come out of the recent situation was the need to work 1:1 with dogs that still needed their hands on treatment, to manage pain and mobility. 1:1 isn't needed now in every situation but some of my clients (I don't like that word as most become friends) have chosen to continue to send their dogs in to the clinic without them. They have noted that their dog settles better without them there and they benefit more from the session.
Henry certainly doesn't mind his time in my room, just me and him. He wanders in, has a little sniff, maybe a sneaky treat, and settles down on the mat. His session today was just beautiful and relaxed for both of us. I openly admit its therapy for me too!
This isn't the case for every dog though. Some can become anxious if mum or dad aren't around but settle well if they are just in the room so they can see them. Every dog is different so each session is carried out to each dog's needs, mentally and physically.
Even those that just don't settle can benefit. I find with these dogs that they often fall asleep at home, allowing their body to continue to adapt to the changes instigated in the session. Some over time realise what the session is about and start to settle more during the session. I am looking to do sessions purely on reducing hyperactivity and relaxation (let me know if this is what you are looking for so we can focus the session on that goal). Stress is known to be a factor in overall health, so finding ways to unwind is crucial to optimum health and longevity (for both us and our dogs!).
Because each dog is different, this is one of the reasons why I can't predict how well or how quickly a dog will respond. Recently I had a little dog in, who was a little anxious yet after one session was reported to be "100% better". Others due to their condition, we can only managing the situation, and we need to continue with regular maintenance sessions. Although it is my ambition to "fix" everyone I know this is not possible but what I do know from experience is over time, be it one session or continuous sessions, it naturally reduces pain, improves mobility and improves quality of life.
I'm not sure it really was an adventure, but when I say their names together it sounds like the title of a movie or a book! Okay, maybe it's just me, or maybe it was an adventure!
Verne has been a few times before so is a bit of a pro. He has degeneration in his spine yet he has developed a much better top line, which helps support his spine, since he started coming to see me. It is so rewarding to help any dog but seeing older dogs improve is fantastic. He's a beautiful gentleman, still enjoying his walks, occasionally opting to jump in his wheels and enjoy a ride instead. Having Staffordshire Bull Terriers myself I do have a soft spot for the breed, but anyone who knows them would understand why.
Although Bridget has visited before when her brother Verne has had a session, she had not had a session herself, until recently. Her mum felt she wasn't quite right, and due to the current precautions opted for Bridget to have a one to one with me. Whilst mum, dad and Verne waited in the car, listening out for the screams and tantrums, Bridget astounded us all. She did watch the door for a few minutes but then settled down next to me. it was a beautiful relaxing session. We even posed for a little selfie (you wont see me doing that too often!!). She was a little superstar (or maybe she's a movie star? :) )
I have to say it has been wonderful to see my regulars back after the heavy restrictions. I'm not a fan of the new buzz words so I'll say we are nearly back to normal, in that I can see pretty much any dog that needs to see me now. I say nearly normal as I still have my risk assessment and sanitising protocols in place. Applying a hierarchy of controls (and knowledge from my previous occupation) I am still taking care, of you as well as your dog (although currently human hospitality, i.e tea and coffee are still off the menu, apologies for that!).
It took me a while to get back into the swing of things and remember to take my phone into clinic. My main aim has been to get the dogs I see as comfortable as possible after quite a time without the hands on care they would normally receive. So apologies if you have been back and I didn't capture any photos, hopefully next time.
I'm going to keep this post short and just let you enjoy some the beautiful faces I have had the pleasure of over the last week or so.
Images courtesy of
Ghillie the Border Terrier, Oscar the French Bulldog, Minnie Whippet, Arti and Henry the Labradors and Bramble, Terrier X, thank you
I have to say I am opposed to calling the current situation the new normal. To accept any of this as normal is detrimental to our future as social creatures. What is normal about any of this for our dogs? They will certainly pick up on our emotions and I don't think anyone can deny the emotional roller coaster of the last few weeks, it has definitely not been a holiday.
Of course the weather has played a part in keeping spirits up, enjoying nature at its best with our dogs, certainly melts those worries away for that moment or two. As many small businesses spring into action preparing to open their doors, more of us get back to work, the kids back to school, I hope families find ways to minimise the impact on our dogs, suddenly left home alone after weeks of family time. Who knows they might be glad of the peace and quiet!!.
A few weeks ago, I found myself locked out of my business Facebook page. Timing couldn't have been worse with nearly 5 years of information sharing, photos, clients comments, messages, reviews, plus nearly 500 followers, I was left unable to post or see messages. After nearly 4 weeks of trying to resolve the problem with no help at all from FB. Frustrated, but I can't deny FB has been a great platform to share information about Out of Step, I am undecided how to take it forward. Build an new page from scratch? Look elsewhere? What about a blog? So many choices.
After a beautiful evening walk with the dogs, they all crashed on the sofa, asleep and content. I settled down with my laptop to write my first blog post to update those who follow Out of Step. I have to add here, I am very grateful to the support. Following a trial earlier, and with a certain amount of trepidation, as I am by no means a computer geek, I am going to use both my website and FB to share updates. I am not sure however, who and how much everyone is seeing through Facebook, so I would really appreciate if friends and family would share this post. I will decide over the next few days whether to build a new Out of Step FB page (any feedback welcome).
I know this crisis is by no means over, but I am optimistic we are starting to move forward, albeit treading carefully. I have had a protocol in place before the lockdown commenced, which will be in place going forward for as long as necessary. I'm just looking forward to seeing everyone again, some normality. Please get in touch when you are ready, and we can discuss the new protocol and how I can help your dog.
Please share far and wide
The treat jar is fully stocked at Out of Step Canine, and I look forward to welcoming you.
The only C words we are thinking about today are calm and cake, as in birthday cake!! Hildi celebrates her 6th Birthday today.