Guess who had his first physical therapy appointment today? If you guessed Wally, then gold star for you!
First we chatted with Dr. Russell Howe-Smith, the vet in charge, who took some history, did some assessment, and then suited up in a wetsuit. Because the PetPT place is all about water therapy for dogs. Russell put Wally into a life vest, and then into a platform lift that raised him up from the floor and lowered him into the above-ground pool. After getting him used to the idea of being in the water (Wally has never gone swimming before), Russell pulled Wally off the platform and made sure he understood that once he got to the platform, he was safe. (Wally is a fast learner.)
And then, Russell started steering Wally around the pool, checking his hind legs. And what do you know - when Wally got close to the platform again, he really starting pumping those front legs - and his back legs moved a bit too. In subsequent swimming sessions, Wally managed to move those hind legs a bit more. Not a lot, and not strongly, but it looks like things are going to get working again.
And we're ordering him a "Help 'Em Up" harness, so that he can start going on walks in the neighborhood. It will be a bit taxing, I think, since it basically means that you have to keep up with the front half of the dog while carrying the back half, but it will be a good thing for the little guy to feel like he's going somewhere and making progress - and it might help him to get back in the swing of things, bathroom-wise.
I am totally taking a camera along next time to document the swim therapy so I have photos of it for me. And hey - I'll share some with you, too.