When I first graduated from veterinary school I pretty well thought I knew it all. That was until I started my first job. I was lucky enough to have several good mentors to help me out along the way.
Then along came a little brown bearded collie puppy that has pushed me more than anyone. Grendel has been with me through most of my veterinary career. She has taught me humility and how to have fun. She has sound sensitivity issues that pushed me to better understand that and also to become a better dog trainer. She looks fabulous in her pink thundershirt for thunderstorm phobia. Along the way Grendel injured her shoulder and carpus competing in agility. I took her to several specialists and massage therapists to try and help her. I finally realized I needed to keep her limber and strong. Grendel continued her agility career. At 11 years old I looked at her and realized she was getting old. She had an inoperable liver tumor and was starting to have a harder time getting around. After years of watching older dogs come into the clinic barely able to walk I decided to sign up for The Canine Rehabilitation Institute CCRT (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist) program. After the first day I was hooked. Grendel was a demo dog. That first day I was taught scapular glides that loosened up her shoulders. I was shown joint mobilizations that loosened up the arthritis in her carpus. I immediately started a strengthening program on my dogs. After a few months Grendel had much better hind limb strength. She was racing down the stairs again and jumping on my bed. My other dog Tallulah has hip dysplasia. After starting her strengthening program, she became a much happier dog and is much more social.
Grendel finally retired from agility at the age of 13. She is still teaching me on a daily basis how to work with dogs and how to keep it fun. After retirement I realized Grendel still needed more help than I could give her. I started taking her to an animal chiropractor. Dr. Andi Harper spent hours helping Grendel and teaching me. When Grendel peacefully went to the Rainbow Bridge I realized I needed to pursue animal chiropractic training.
Everyday I am thankful for having had such a fabulous dog who pushed me into new ways of thinking. She made me a better person and a much better veterinarian.