I am not known for my patience. In fact, when I was a kid, my father used to joke that when the good Lord passed out patience, I didn’t bother to wait in line.
But I’ve learned a few things since opening Scout’s House and one of them is that you have to have patience with rehab therapy. It doesn’t happen overnight.
As many readers of this blog know, I started Scout’s House because I saw what an incredible difference it made in the life of my own dog. But when I started rehab with Scout, I had no expectations that it would help her. To be honest, she was such a neurological mess, I didn’t think anything could fix her. But rehab did. Not overnight but over months, slowly and steadily. And I’m so glad I was patient enough to give it time to work.
So if there’s one bit of advice I’d give to anyone considering rehab therapy for her or his pet, it’s this: have patience. Too many people come to Scout’s House expecting overnight miracles, but that’s not how rehab therapy—or physical therapy for humans—works. It takes time to regain lost muscle strength, particularly when a leg hasn’t been used for a month or two. And it takes even more time to retrain a brain to move limbs properly again after, say, a disk rupture or an FCE.
We often tell our new clients to start by bringing their pets in twice a week for two to three weeks and by then they should see at least a little improvement. And we say twice a week because often the more therapy a pet gets each week, the more quickly you’ll see gains. It’s just like going to the gym: go once a week and you won’t see much change over the course of several weeks. But go twice a week—or even three times a week—and you’ll improve far more rapidly.
So, if you’re headed to rehab with your pet, have patience and give it time to work. I can’t promise it will–rehab doesn’t help every animal just as physical therapy doesn’t help every human–but if you commit to at least twice a week for two or three weeks, you’ll know if rehab is right for your pet. And you’ll have the peace of mind, knowing you tried.