:Hands on DorjePosted: August 16, 2008
Returning from a trip to Sturgis, Jason’s inquired immediately about Dorje. I gave him the latest. Dorje shows more movement each day, including kicking one hind leg as I carry him outside. He holds himself relatively ‘high up’ while sitting. He’s been fussing, grumbling at the adolescents – Wyatt and Thateus – when they greet him at the fence. All positive signs, showing improvement along the road Dorje is traveling.
But the past several days my hands have felt the need for something different, maybe some physical therapy. Having little clue about how to go about this, I came up with standing him up, positioning his hind legs and applying a delicate balance of pressure alongside his lower spine, interchanged with patting him softly along his spine. I adjust my touch to how he responds with the goal to ‘trigger’ his hindquarters to resist my motions.
Jason asked if I could bring him by his house. Could I?! Apsolutely! Immediately Jason noticed the higher ‘stance’, but I could tell he noticed something else. He asked me to position Dorje in a sit position, balanced equally on his rear legs. He observed Dorje from several angles, approached him and placed his hands on his spine, further up the spine than the trigger point (which had been ‘worked out’, one reason my hands were no longer making a difference). He carefully, gently found the curve in Dorje’s back which now revealed itself due to the spine’s increased flexibility.
The curve is C shaped and juts to Dorje’s right side. I could see it too! As Jason taught me maneuvers, I could also feel it. At each end of the curve, I could feel the misalignment of those vertebrae. I’ve mentioned that, in retrospect, I realized Dorje had been moving with increasingly smaller steps with his rear legs. It makes total sense to me that this curve (scoliosis) is fundamentally responsible for Dorje’s situation.
Currently, I’m working his entire spine – with the exception of the curve – rocking it vertebrae by vertebrae. This is to keep the rest of his spine flexible; the body protects injured areas by tensing up muscles surrounding the injury. At either end of the C, I’m applying pressure at the misalignment. I’m rotating the C curve, vertebrae by vertebrae, placing my entire hands along the spine, rotating to the left. Finally, my ragtag physical therapy continues, incorporating tactile irritation (tugging the skin and hair of his rear quarters). I begin by positioning Dorje’s rear legs under him. Gently applying pressure, I balance his resistance to the pressure (he pushes up into my hand) so he’s able to remain standing rather than sitting. I also put my hands on either side of him, close to his thighs, gently push him from side to side, again using his body signals to determine how far I push him. Yesterday I incorporated foot stimulation. I hold him similar to cradling a baby, but so that his hind legs can move freely (if you can call it that!!). I massage between each toe with very firm pressure. He is able to pull each foot away when the pressure is too much.
I admit to wanting a miracle, instant gratification, to walk into the kennel and see Dorje push himself up into a stand. He has feeling in his feet, which means the message is making it from his brain to his rear feet. He can hold himself up if I position his rear legs. Day before yesterday he held his tail up. These small improvements keep me encouraged!
And, no, Jason isn’t a biker. He grew up in the Sturgis area and wrote The Sturgis Rally Guide, an ebook specifically for people attending the famous Sturgis Bike Rally. He updates this Upload Experience ebook yearly.