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The Great Gabby, Part 2: Settling In

June 28, 2010

Toby & Gabby outside

Gabby in the grass

Today was a normal, quiet Sunday. We had to go to the pet store and run a handful of errands which means leaving the dogs crated at home for an hour or two. We started the morning with Gabby’s therapy using the hot and cold packs: Video 3: Hot& Cold Packs.  Then we had some outside play time with all of the dogs.  After they were nice and sleepy, we crated them up so we could run our errands. When we got home, we surprised our dogs with treats; Gabby got two new balls like her favorite toy that her foster mom sent and a new bright pink collar.

Gabby sniffing her new toys

She liked her new toys, and then she had dinner with carrot “sprinkles” and her vitamins.  After that it was time for her standing exercises which are a lot more work for her. She was really sleepy but she was a trooper and did her best to stay on her own four paws. She even managed a few little steps(!!!) Video 4: Standing Exercises

Gabby curled up in the laundry after her exercises, so I decided to skip the bubble spa for today. I headed into the office to upload her new progress, and the little girl scooted in behind me. Then wouldn’t you know, her doxie side kicked in and she started sniffing at the carpet. Something (previous foster perhaps?) had her nose going and she was on a mission to find out where that smell was coming from! She got up and started walking, albeit a little clumsily, while sniffing and scratching at the carpet. OF COURSE I had the camera plugged into the computer, but I decided to risk the technology and pull it out to try and capture her and her sniffing-mission. She got a few more steps in.  She always seems much stronger after her exercises and I think it’s because she feels more confident in her balance.

On a little soapbox note, I think part of the effectiveness of therapy is that you are retraining the dog and her expectations (while rebuilding those muscles and stimulating those nerves). As someone who experienced a particularly nasty spinal fusion to correct slipping vertebrae, I know that I was terrified to even shift my weight after surgery and I was able to have people explain to me what had happened and what it would be like; dogs don’t have that luxury. Finally getting the muscles under control enough to take a few steps required the assistance of two family members, tons of coaxing, and overcoming fears that it would hurt; I would imagine that for a dog it is similar. This little creature has been stitched up and has to learn that movements and weight don’t hurt anymore, even though for weeks things have felt painful, uncomfortable, or difficult. Gabby is a little trooper and it seems like she is realizing that she can stand on her own four paws again. It’s really amazing and I am so proud of her.

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