Pet Care – Walking Support
By Michael Russell
My dog was getting on in years. She was around nine years old. I had been enjoying her company since she was about two. Her previous owner was having some relationship difficulties with his spouse and they were separating so he chose not to look after the dog any more. I was looking for a large heavy watchdog at the time and answering a local classified news paper ad brought us together. She was a Rottweiler. What first impressed me about her was her quiet self-assured manner. She fitted my requirements exactly.
Snoopy loved to eat. She had a big appetite. Even giving her daily exercise walks didn’t seem to reduce her weight gain. She was so heavy I could not have lifted her. It could have been her age catching up with her, but Snoopy’s leg and shoulder joints started causing her to limp. Perhaps she became too tired after one of her walks. I saw her trip badly one day and realised that she was going to have some trouble walking. Since her joints appeared weak causing her pain, I thought giving them support would help.
I went to a hardware store to look for something to use for leg support. Looking in the plumbing section, I spotted some black coloured heavy-duty pipe insulation. It was a spongy yet firm tube with an open seam running along its side. It should fit around the dog’s leg even if cut in half.
At home I checked how long a piece of tubing to use. It had to cover the weak knee joint with some support above and below. Two lengths of tube cut to the same size were place around Snoopy’s leg at the knee joint. During the fitting she wasn’t sure that she liked the feeling of the tubing on her leg and she squirmed around a little. I told her that the tubing had to be put on her leg to help her walk and she let me continue the fitting. When the tube was adjusted in the right place on her leg, I taped it into place with heavy-duty plastic box tape. I wrapped the tape tight enough to give the joint support but not so tight it was uncomfortable.
Snoopy seemed to understand that the support tube on her leg would help her walk. She didn’t chew at it or try to rip away the tape. She tested it out. Snoopy walked a few uncertain steps, still limping slightly but she accepted that this new thing on her leg would help her walk. She was able to walk around limitedly. She could go outside some but we cut out her walks for a few days.
After about 4 days of wearing the support, she was walking stronger. I waited another couple of days before removing her leg support. When her leg support came off she was able to walk more smoothly. The joint was stronger and had its movement restored.
The application of the leg support had been successful. She regained her walking ability enough to continue taking her daily walks. She was able to go on mountain hikes so she could sniff out where deer and bear had roamed. She especially enjoyed watching squirrels, and digging out ground squirrel holes. Life was good.
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