My wonderful dog, “Rudy”, was hit by a car in September of 2001. I was devastated--Rudy is “extra-special”--I got him at a time I was finally ready to take care of someone besides myself. The accident left Rudy with a fractured pelvis and a radial nerve injury. His pelvis was repaired surgically, but the nerve damage left him unable to use his forelimb. It has been a long “journey” for Rudy (and me) which included acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, a vet neurologist, and three family vets (one of which recommended amputation).

It took a long time for me to accept that Rudy’s leg would never work. I kept trying whatever options I could find, while Rudy kept being a patient little trooper. Rudy’s regular vet always showed special interest in him; and she told us about Susan, who is certified in canine rehabilitation. I had to call and at least ask her to evaluate Rudy in hopes that something new could be done. We are so glad we did! Susan gave Rudy a very thorough examination which included measurements that no other specialists had ever performed. She patiently explained the anatomy of Rudy’s injury and showed me how to stretch his leg to try to reduce the extensive contractures of his joints. She used underwater ultrasound therapy too, and I know this was of benefit, not to mention Rudy LOVES going to see Susan. After a lot of discussion, we decided to be more aggressive; and Susan referred us to an orthopedic surgeon who evaluated Rudy for a tendon release procedure. It was Rudy’s only chance to walk on his leg again – but it was an unprecedented approach; we did not know if it would work or if his Triceps would come back enough to allow him to bear weight. On February 18th, (3.5 years since the accident) Rudy had the surgery. Again, Rudy was so brave and happy, despite having a splint all the way up his leg!

Now Rudy’s leg is straight again; and we now know that his Triceps do work! even though they are very weak. We are hopeful that Rudy will be able to use a splint (something he could not use prior to the tendon release surgery) and walk again. Susan is working with several companies to develop the special type of splint and brace that Rudy needs. So if anyone ever asks me if I believe in the practice of canine rehabilitation, I can tell them with assurance...“YES”! It took us a long time to “discover”, but it was well worth the journey.

~Amy and Rudy


Rehab for a dog?! It seemed ludicrous. But when “Brownie” ruptured a ligament in her knee, and I chose surgery for a hunting dog I had trained for three years, I knew she would not simply recover without additional work. She is an athlete. Susan came to us with a common sense approach, she showed us important stretching exercises to regain movement, and she showed us how to use common household items as training props. The exercises taught Brownie how to use her new knee. Susan maintained a thorough log of Brownie’s recovery, recommending new exercises for continued progress. Brownie was ready for hunting season on schedule, and has returned to her job and her love of retrieving.

~Jim and Brownie


My “Cosette” received the gift of a second chance! Suddenly, without warning, my five-year-old dachshund developed paralysis of her hind legs in the middle of the night. Within several hours, I got her to a Vet who placed her on steroids and had her in surgery for ruptured discs the very next morning. After six weeks on crate rest, she still showed no signs of return. She had no deep pain sensation, no proprioception, and no bowel and bladder function. It seemed hopeless. The Vet very strongly suggested we get her a cart. I believed I could give my baby better than that. I had been in contact with Susan long-distance all along about Cosette, and when I was able to start Rehab, she began to make gains daily! Six months later, Cosette is walking, and has much better control of her bowel and bladder. She is still making progress, and every day I see her do something new. I believe that within a year, she will be back to the same old Cosette she was before. The art of Canine Rehab truly gave her a second chance at life!

~Dawn and Cosette


Thanks Susan! You have made a tremendous contribution to our goal of rehabilitating our injured rescue dogs. They made lightening fast progress and have gone on to their “forever” adoptive homes; something we may not have achieved without your help. We highly value your never-give-up attitude, always going the extra mile, always available by phone or e-mail.

Two of our rescue dogs Susan treated were “Baji” and “Mirage”. To save Baji’s life, his front leg had to be amputated. Susan visited Baji the day before the surgery, and saw him the day after the surgery; she instructed the veterinary staff in post-op rehab, and spent hours finding the right body harness for him. With her follow-up care, Baji did well, and is now REUNITED with his family!

Mirage ruptured a spinal disc while "in the pound" and her rear limbs were paralyzed, requiring immediate emer-gency surgery. Soon after the surgery, Susan actually fostered Mirage in her own home for two weeks of intensive rehab. She always thought Mirage “could get it all back”; and now she runs, jumps and plays like a two-year old! When adopters came forward, Susan was so excited she offered to meet with them personally, and corresponded with them several times to assure a perfect match. The new owners wrote:

Susan was very helpful. She provided a summary of Mirage's condition as well as detailed explanations and benefits about recommended supplements and exercises. She even provided links to the websites to order Mirage's supplements and I refer to this information often.

In addition, Susan provided her opinion of Mirage's personality. She obviously cared very much for Mirage. In our adopter's packet, there were handouts with pictures of Susan working with Mirage and it was very helpful to have pictures demonstrating Mirage's exercise program. The pictures are cute too...Mirage is smiling in all of them!

--Mary Ann"

I concur wholeheartedly with Mary Ann. Your comprehensive information on the conditions and resources prove to be invaluable. I have met no one like you . . . the depths you go to ensure a client understands the scope of the situation is awesome.

~Vicki and Shar-Peis,
Dominion Chinese Shar-Pei Club and Rescue


Our beloved Poodle “Harvey” underwent three separate procedures in one surgery (repair of a dislocated patella, ruptured CCL ligament and kidney stones). Unfortunately, because we were out of town, Harvey was hospitalized for one week after surgery. When we returned and brought Harvey home, he was too weak to move comfortably and was still in tremendous pain. He refused to put any weight on the injured leg. The orthopaedic surgeon said that because he was so small (12 lbs), he got around ok without using the leg. Of course, this was not an acceptable result! He referred us to Susan, and with her guidance, the hard work began to gradually build up the atrophied muscles and stimulate the unresponsive nerves. We saw Susan once a week for only 5 visits, and Harvey demonstrated consistent progress. Susan developed a rehabilitative plan that was adapted to our home and to Harvey. After two months Harvey was walking, running and pain free. Without Susan's assistance and guidance, Harvey's post-surgical rehabilitation would not have been possible. We are lucky to have a certified canine rehabilitative therapist in our area. It would have been a tragedy to go through the surgical trauma and expense and Harvey still not be able to use his leg. Dogs are no different than humans -- they need post-surgical therapy.

~Sheila and Harvey


“Jerry” suffered an FCE, with a very poor prognosis for recovery. His back legs were totally paralyzed and he had no bladder or bowel control. I had no idea how to handle him during the "window" we were given for possible recovery, either physically or psychologically. Susan saw Jerry immediately and did a very thorough evaluation; she showed us all the exercises to do and gave us a wealth of information to help with his recovery. We were thrilled when we saw the first little movements in only a few days, then saw him stand and wag his tail. Within one month, we were walking one mile! I give Susan a lot of credit for his recovery; she is a very energetic, compassionate and capable professional, and a real asset to our community.

~Gray and Jerry

“Casey” suffered a CCL rupture in her left knee that required a TPLO surgical repair. Prior to her injury, Casey had been competing in dog shows, and it was critical to me that she make a full recovery. We started working with Susan one week after surgery. She gave me all the information I needed to make sure her home program was safe and appropriate; she tracked her progress, customized her program, and always made herself available to me for any questions. Without Susan’s guidance, we would not be looking forward to the Spring show! I can not thank her enough!

~Lisa and Casey


“Good News! The surgeon says Casey is going GREAT!
This weekend, I entered Casey into a conformation match at the last minute, to see if the judges could discern that she had undergone such an extensive surgery. To my complete surprise, SHE WON! First Place in the “Working Dog Group! I could not be more proud! I dedicate this win to you! We couldn’t have done it without you!"

“Casey Did It Again! I took her to two more matches yesterday, and again, she WON FIRST PLACE in the “Working Group” in both matches! I am very proud of Casey. After all she has been through, and bless her heart; she is out there again giving 100%. But most importantly, we are having so much fun!”

“She’s Doing GREAT!!! Casey won on Sat (beating 20 bitches) and Sun (beating 18 bitches) picking up 8 points.  She now has a total of 11 points and needs only 4 more and she'll be a Champion!!!
YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!  I would have never thought less than a year ago that we'd be where we are today!!!  What a THRILL!!!!!!!  THANK YOU!!!!!!!”

“Susan, Casey is now a CHAMPION !!! I took her to the shows in Raleigh NC this weekend where she won 3 of the 4 days and
finished her Championship!

It's unbelievable, and in less than a year from her TPLO surgery....THANKS TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you Susan, a million times over for helping make this possible for us.”

~Lisa and Casey


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