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About Island Mobile Paws

The Inspiration - Bryce & Buster

Two of my dogs inspired the creation of this practice.

Bryce

The first was Bryce, pictured here.

Bryce was my near-constant companion for 16 years. Over that time, Bryce inspired me to both investigate acupuncture and to find ways to do more for my elderly patients.

We stopped at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in July of 1998 with 2 dogs and left the sanctuary with 3, including our new addition- Bryce.

Bryce was a hyperactive, 1.5-year-old Australian Shepherd. He had been found in Kanab, Utah in middle of an intersection, staring up at the pickups passing around him.

Bryce quickly settled into the perfect companion and was always ready for any adventure.

When he was about 6 years old, this very active dog suddenly could not even jump on the sofa.

I did everything I could for Bryce. I prescribed anti-inflammatories, narcotics, and muscle relaxants. I rested him. I changed his medications when the first round did not work, but he was not improving at all after about 2 weeks. My wild child was a sad boy indeed.

Out of desperation, I took Bryce to a veterinary colleague who practiced acupuncture. We planned 3 weekly sessions to see if Bryce would respond. After his first session, he got up on the sofa and finally seemed comfortable. After his second session, he started playing with the other dogs inside the house. After the third session, Bryce seemed completely normal. I did not understand why, but I could see that acupuncture had helped Bryce.

As Bryce aged, I again found myself wanting to offer him more. Bryce was on several standard pain medications, but he became quite stiff and slow over his last two years and finally was no longer happy. I knew when his time had come and reluctantly made the decision to let him go, almost exactly 16 years after we adopted him.

When we first got Bryce, I asked him to make it to at least 17. Always eager to please, Bryce lived to be 17 ½ years old.

The second inspiration for Island Mobile Paws Veterinary Services is Buster, pictured here.

Buster

Buster came to us from the SPCA in Salmon Arm. He was brought in to the clinic as a 14-week-old puppy with both back legs broken. A passerby had found him in a ditch along a rural road.

Buster with broken back legs

After he healed from his many surgeries, Buster acted like a normal puppy and young dog. He could run quickly, even in deep snow. Most people had no clue that Buster had ever been injured.

Over time, I started to notice a change in his posture. His back seemed more arched and his right tarsus (ankle joint) was too straight when he walked. Still, to the casual observer, Buster acted like a “normal” dog.

When I completed my courses in acupuncture and rehabilitation, I better understood the root causes of Buster’s issues. Buster had compensated for his damaged back legs by putting too much weight on his front legs and tucked his back legs under his pelvis, making his spine arch. Over time, this caused more muscle tightness and even more arching. He also had a bow in one back leg, causing his kneecap to move improperly and changing his gait even more.

As I began to treat Buster with targeted exercises, he gained strength and became much more comfortable. He loves his acupuncture and laser treatments, pushing the other dogs out of the way to get his “turn.”

Buster is now doing some beginner agility classes. He may never be a top-notch canine athlete, but Buster is so much happier.

Buster on the snow

While I am thrilled that Buster is doing better, I want to prevent the compensatory changes that Buster endured in other patients.

Treating any injury or illness ideally addresses the whole patient and not just the site of disease. This is the approach I take at Island Mobile Paws Veterinary Services.