The proverbial backbone: having the courage to speak and listen openly to others

Grace has always seemed so agile to me. Maybe there is more than meets the eye. I’m about to find out. Photo by Annie Card.

Tomorrow morning Grace and I are leaving at the crack of dawn (she doesn’t know this yet) and drive two hours west. We’re going to meet a dog chiropractor and have her evaluate Grace.

Mind you, I’m not even sure what, if anything is wrong with Grace. I know most people would (and will) think this is excessive. Some people don’t even go to their family doc on a regular basis—much less take their dog to a chiropractor who lives two states away. At least most dog owners I know.

It was the recommendation of someone who I really trust that moved me to action. Someone who has a wealth of knowledge and experience with dogs, and she felt there was something physical going on with Grace when she saw her.

When I tell people, I get a mixture of responses. Some are supportive and encouraging. Before I even scheduled the appointment, I asked my husband if he thought I was crazy for pursuing this. He said he didn’t, but he wants to make sure that we have some realistic plan of action around it.

But most of the responses have been similar. There is a quiet pause, as if to collect their thoughts on how to respond tactfully about something that think is a little (maybe a lot!) ‘out-there.’ “Oh, how interesting….”

It reminds me how people in the workplace stop or soften their actions because they others may snicker at them. Voicing an opinion or taking action that others might not see in a similar light can be difficult. And even for those who have no problem making a tough decision and sticking by it, it still takes energy and resolve to move forward even with subtle resistance.

All of us need to be able to voice our opinion, whether we agree with something or not. I’m not suggesting that anyone sugar-coat a response just to go along. I think it’s so important that you offer your honest belief, voiced in a respectful way. Having all the data points helps you make a better decision.

I’m really quite excited to have this experience with Grace tomorrow. I’m looking forward to learning something more about Grace and hopefully discover ways I can help her. When I report back, I hope you tell me what you really think about it.

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18 comments

  1. A dog chiroplractor does not sound far fetched at all. Had you said, “dog psychic” I would have had to politely lie to you. 🙂 lol
    I hope all goes well, and that Grace does well on her car ride.
    I know a gal who does Feldenrakis touch therapy on her cat as a way to calm the animal.
    http://www.sensemethod.com/ Perhaps Grace and you may be interested?

    • Thanks for remembering about Grace in the car! She did really well, overall. Maybe because it was so early in the morning and she was still sleepy! 🙂 I checked out the website — that looks like wonderful stuff. I had never heard of the that particular therapy but it certainly makes sense (and I also loved the Sense Method name she had, too!). Thanks for sharing.

  2. didiwright says:

    So you’re taking Grace to a chiropractor…Oh, how interesting…:P
    It won’t surprise you to hear that I don’t think you’re crazy or over-reacting at all. You’re just being a responsible, caring owner and Grace is lucky to have you. We would do the same for George. After all, when we took on our pups, this came with the responsibility of looking after them, right? My husband and I have got in our diary the contact details of one of the top sighthound vets in the UK, who happens to live at the other end of the country, and we wouldn’t hesitate to make the journey if we had to. We made a similar journey to collect George anyway.
    Of course, I hope there’s nothing wrong with Grace and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. Please let us know how it went.

    P.S. I fully agree with what you said about voicing opinions in the workplace. x

  3. Kas says:

    Being a fellow dog sport participant, I know so many people that swear by their doggie chiropractors and often seek adjustments for their pups. I’m curious to see what you and Grace think – maybe we’ll give it a try one day!

    • Hi Kas. I appreciate you stopping by — I know you’ve been busy! The chiropractor I saw told me that for any of her own dogs that are going through agility, she will “adjust” them monthly! Otherwise, she maintains their system with twice a year/schedule. She saw no reason for Grace to stop agility, but it does make me realize how much wear and tear the running and jumping and turning must impact their body.

  4. Renee says:

    No judgement here, Robin! Michael used to take our dog, Finn, to a acupuncturist for his arthritis; acupuncture (which, as you may know, aligns Ch’i, our life-force energy) is often used as a follow-up to sustain the results of chiropractic adjustments. The balance through the alignment helps us access what is already there, and perhaps untapped — our life-force energy — thereby allowing our body (our system) to make sustainable, healthy connections. Balance, energy, connections — all words that resonated for me when I read your post and how they are so very vital to the health and well-being of people and organizational systems. All the best to you and Grace!

    • Wow, Renee, you have so clearly pointed out such an important point. I love that the areas of balance, energy, and connections — as they relate to the well-being of people and organizations — jumped out to you. It is amazing to me how all things are connected and it seems that they methods of healing and sustaining health are so logical. Thanks for commenting!

  5. As responsible dog owners, I think it’s our duty to have our furry companions evaluated by animal health professionals if we notice that something has gone amiss. Our Lil’ Miss Maple is one active pup and I’m always (nervously) watching out for her, but as she ages I think her needs will become much more complicated and so it would make sense to seek help from chiropractors and acupuncturists specializing in dog anatomy. Agility dogs are no different and I’m sure Grace will benefit greatly from the visits to her chiropractor.

    • One thing I’m learning is to develop a keener sense of awareness. After the chiropractor found the misalignment with the left pelvis, it immediately brought to mind for both me and my husband that we have noticed Grace occasionally slipping going up and down stairs. Because it’s so random and infrequent, I had dismissed it as her not watching where she was going, moving too fast, or like could happen to any of us, just missed the step. But there was a real reason for her missteps. The chiropractor explained to me that the muscles that pull her back legs together are not working as they should. Now if I see a pattern, even a random one, it can be a catalyst to explore deeper. As you said, good to involve professionals who can help work together with you on these issues. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I too wouldn’t hesitate to take my dogs to anyone who I thought might help them should they need specialisted treatment. Once I took a young dog to a colour therapist who also worked on animals. Sadly there was nothing that could stop an extremely aggressive form of cancer, but I tried. And even if there is really nothing wrong with Grace now, prevention is better than cure.

    • Hi Sue. I had never heard of colour therapy and so I just googled it — fascinating. I found references to the UK and Canada, but also must be more common for you in New Zealand. Sorry it didn’t work for the dog with cancer but you must feel good that you exhausted your options. And I agree with your sentiment that prevention is the best practice. Wise advice! Thanks for sharing about the colour therapy; I always love to learn new things.

  7. spiderpaw says:

    Good for you Robin. I probably would do the same. I truly wish the best for Ms Grace. To be honest, if all I had to do the past twenty five years was to take one of our animals to the chiropractor, then I would have driven across country. On a bicycle.

    • I love this comment, Lionel. First, I totally know you would do this and it warms my heart to think of you on a cross-country bicycle trip for Corran. Second, it puts everything into perspective and you are a wonderful role model for all of us, showing the depths of what you would do in order to take care of a family member. Thank you.

  8. LeeAnn says:

    Robin – I cannot tell you what comfort I get from knowing that there are other people out there who value their pets as much as I value mine. And from the other comments here, I can see that there are many of them. I visit a chiropractor – why wouldn’t I take my beloved family member to one? I have been through multiple surgeries and specialists with my dogs and cats and many times people have asked me if it was really worth the money. While at first those responses angered me, I got to the point of feeling sorry for these people as they clearly have not experienced the amazing result of opening your heart and world to these amazing creatures. I often find myself worrying about other peoples’ pets – worrying if they are loved enough, taken care of properly, etc. I love it that I can read your blog and know with certainty that I don’t have to worry about Grace.

    • What a beautiful thing to say; I do love my Grace. I think she becomes more amazing every day and as you said, animals have the ability to enrich your life tremendously. I feel so lucky to be with her. And I know your Gracie is lucky to be with you.

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