There are few things more heart breaking than to see someone you love suffering. You feel so powerless to do anything to help. When the one suffering is a much-loved family pet, it is even worse. The animal doesn’t understand and you can’t explain what is going on.
That’s exactly the situation Irene and Campbell McLaughlan from Drumlithie found themselves in when Dylan, one of their two cocker spaniels was hit by a wave at Stonehaven beach. The impact was so strong that Dylan’s spine was injured.
“He was operated on at the Glasgow vet school and spent six weeks there,” Campbell said. “When he arrived home he could not stand on his own so we used a sling to hold him up.
“I was shown physiotherapy exercises and we kept going with them for six months…He started to try and stand on his own but his back legs were so weak he couldn’t stand or walk for long.”
Then something happened that marked the turning point in Dylan’s recovery.
The K9 Therapy Centre at Findom opened in April last year and Dylan was one of the first dogs to attend for swimming to aid his recovery.
“Dylan attended twice a week for a year,” said Irene. “He loved the spa pool and the staff were excellent Dylan also loved the pampering he got there and knew where he was going.”
Even though water had caused his original injury, the pool held no terror for him.
“The reason we went to K9 was because the nearest hydrotherapy centre I knew of before it was in Clydebank and that’s a long way to go. I can truly say that if K9 had not been so close Dylan would not be the dog he is today. At the age of six he walks with a swagger and lives life to the full.”
Clark Wilson of the K9 Hydrotherapy Centre said: “Dylan has been a very special case though by no means unique. We see a lot of spinal injury cases and although they can often be very complex, we have developed many leading-edge techniques to support and strengthen the muscles around the spine, encourage controlled movement and restore co-ordination. In reality, the best way to deal with the recovery of post-spinal recovery is to exercise in the pool and follow up in the hydro spa to encourage convalescence.
“We are working with even more complex spinal and orthopaedic cases on a weekly basis, but Dylan certainly helped us set the standard. It’s a testament to Irene and Campbell’s faith in our abilities that we’ve been allowed the opportunity to make him better again.”