Desi has had a bad back ever since Flynn jumped on her from a height during a rough game when she was six months old. She was all right for most of the time, then she’d get acute attacks of cramp or her back would start to hurt so much that she couldn’t bear you to touch it even lightly. We did all we could, gave her arnica or half an aspirin if it wasn’t too bad or took her to the vet for one of his magic injections when that didn’t work.
When Desi started going hippity-hop again last week we decided it was time to see if the dog osteopath could nail this problem once and for all. Catherine, the osteopath treats dogs, horses and cats – I’d be interested to know if she has to put on full body armour before starting to manipulate her feline patients. Probably not as she’s one of those people whom animals seem to trust instinctively which is a good thing since at one point she was holding Desi in the air by her back leg and tail, stretching her spine. Desi looked surprised but didn’t protest at all. Catherine said Desi had two impacted vertebrae, prodded and pulled them out, administered little electric shocks along her spine with a sort of hand held mini-taser, did a bit of massage and said she was now fine. The one session would probably be enough too which was good news, Catherine doesn’t come cheap.
Desi is now rocketing about, the bad back seemingly a distant memory. What is really remarkable though is the way she’s moving. As well as their spots Dalmatians as renowned for the grace of their trot. Seemingly effortless, they appear to glide with straight backs, tail and head up, paws apparently barely touching the ground, for mile on mile – a heritage from when they were used as carriage dogs. Flynn, despite his galumphing size, moves absolutely beautifully, the dainty Princess Desi scuttled, for want of a better word, head down, feet splayed out, bum rocking from side to side.
Since Catherine did her magic Desi is running with her head up, a bum that doesn’t waggle and feet that stay in the right place. She won’t ever be as elegant as Flynn, she’s had nearly five years to get into bad habits but she’s moving like a proper Dalmatian for the first time in her life.