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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Our New Pet

Published September 4, 2014 1:20 PM by Lisa Mueller

I brought home a new dog last week -- a beautiful 2-year-old affectionate and sedentary English bulldog named Darcy. After a few years of talking about getting a pet, I decided to look more into some breeders and came across Darcy. We decided she seemed like the right pet for us and the right time in our lives to add both responsibility and joy to our lives.

Within a few days we were visiting with the owners, shopping for dog supplies, and arranging to pick her up for the 1-hour drive home -- quite the whirlwind! So far (day 4), things are going pretty well despite the massive change to our pre-Darcy lives. We're getting used to the dog (specifically, her breathing) and she is getting used to us. We have a pretty good routine of feeding, drinking, bathroom and sleeping.

While this may sound obvious, I'm still surprised by how immediately our lives changed when this dog took its first steps through the door. Last week I didn't think twice about my schedule, but now I'm counting hours on my fingers to figure out when the dog will need to be fed. We usually don't use air conditioning in the summer, but now it's running constantly to keep the temperature acceptable for a dog with inherent respiratory challenges.

My mindset has changed from one of near-selfishness to awareness and planning on behalf of the dog's schedule. It has been a fun few days for my husband and me as we start this chapter of our lives. We're very lucky that the previous owner has answered so many of our questions and given us so much information to be completely prepared for this transition.

I wonder how many patients of physical therapy experience similar mental changes following an injury, whether acute or chronic. Within a very short period of time, we have seen patients experience life-changing injuries. A patient with back pain, for example, may have never thought about a commute to work before an injury, but now finds himself thinking about transferring in and out of the car and tolerating the length of the car ride.

In many of these patient scenarios, physical therapists can provide information, resources and accessibility for when a patient may need support, just as Darcy's previous owner did for us.

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