Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Water therapy

Maybe it's just me but I'm under the impression that dogs have been a lot more in the news recently. It seems at least once a week either The Globe or The Star has a feature article about dogs (and no, I'm not talking about dog bite stories).

This Globe and Mail video doc about the Canine Wellness Center, a hydrotherapy facility in Toronto used for dog physiotherapy, is particular good to see because I know several people who have brought their dogs to this place with great results and they say Tania Costa, the woman who runs it, is a saint. Well, I don't know what it takes to be sainted these days but anyone who can help a crippled dog walk again is certain a miracle worker. She's had great success treating things like arthritis, hip dysplasia, torn muscles and neurological disorders.

The video features the inspirational progress of a Collie but the cameos of the Bulldog are hilarious.


Cathrine said...

Saw the video this morning: it was a great way to start the day.

Ms. Costa is not alone saving crippled dogs. In Beograd, where no such wonderful place exists, there are amazing vets and a surgeon who sometimes works a miracle or two.

Spunko was a street dog who had his spine shattered and his brain scrambled by a car. Despite being paralysed from the shoulders back, he insisted on dragging himself around, trying to survive, until someone brought him to us. It was weeks after the injury: his spine had 'healed' in the most awkward shape, and the brain was partly detached from its stem.

Our vets took him to the surgeon, who made a backdoor visit to a hospital -- the only place where he could get access to certain diagnostic devices -- and found the spinal nerve still alive. The brain was still communicating with the body.

In an 11 hour operation over two days, he did what he could.

Less than a week later, Spunko was starting to move his hind legs. It took work -- including a cheap above ground pool purchased for the very reason Ms. Costa offers hydrotherapy -- and his hindquarters are stiff, but Spunko now walks, runs and even does a happy dance for his dinner.

Spunko is 9 years old, and still lives where we did -- our replacement was kind enough to allow him to stay. Yes, he is deaf, and has occasional seizures, controlled by drugs donated by the vets, but he is in dog heaven, with a big yard, a job patrolling the grounds with the staff, and a group of people who love and care for him.

No one will ever give that surgeon the coverage Ms. Costa has. He made me promise never to tell his name, because miracles are hard to do and he hates to raise hopes only to disappoint.

But I was inspired by the video to want to acknowledge, in some way, the man who saved Spunko, Anna Pavlova, Shakti, and half a dozen other hopeless cases found by the side of the road and brought to him.

Here's to the world's workers of miracles for the injured and crippled, whatever their species, wherever they are.

Thank you.

Fred said...

That's a great story, Cathrine. Thanks for sharing it.