Sasha is a 15 year old chow mix who first pranced through our doors hoping to find relief for her arthritis which was starting to slow her down about 5 years ago. She was prescribed a treatment plan which consisted of twice weekly strengthening modalities such as resistance pool and exercise, as well as acupuncture, massage and laser therapy which were used for pain management. Sasha began to improve, so she was put on a once weekly program and underwater treadmill was added.
Her mom Beth gave us history on Sasha, as well as a glimpse into her daily life: “I went to the Anti-Cruelty Society on Grand Ave. in May 2003 because they had advertised some cute puppies on the news. I told myself I wouldn’t adopt unless a dog really made an impression on my heart. When I got there, all the puppies were gone so I took a lap around all the cages. None of them seemed right for me. As I was leaving I took a look in the waiting area and spotted a lady and her son playing with a little peach fuzzball. That lady had my dog! As fate would have it, they put her back. I swooped in and took her from her cage and sat with her. She was mine from the first moment and has been my precious best friend for 15 years.
Sasha starts pacing at 6:30am which is my alarm clock. I start my coffee and line up her many pills to shove down the chute (she doesn’t fall for the “pills wrapped in something yummy trick”). She’s loaded into the wagon for a ride to the park to see her neighborhood friends. (She can’t walk to the park and back anymore so we need a little help from the wagon everyday). Once we’re done socializing and I get ready for work, she’s off to daycare (Pooch hotel) where she gladly comes to hang out with her “school friends.” She hangs there while I work. I pick her up, get her daily report and head home in time for dinner. It’s a long day for her so she snoozes most of the evening, gets endless kisses and hugs from mom, a couple chews on her beloved bully sticks, with her ice packs on her back and the Assisi loop targeted at her poor joints. Last pills of the day and off to bed.
Sasha has had joint issues, elbows and rear legs since she was 6 yrs old. She had a TPLO surgery on back right leg, cruciate ligament on left rear leg, an elbow replacement on her front right elbow and two arthroscopic procedures in her left front elbow to remove bone fragments from osteoarthritis. Needless to say my girl has had a rough go on all four legs— mobility and limited pain relief options—brought our Vet to recommend IPC. And I’m so glad she did!
With Sasha’s all four limbs being affected with stiffness and pain and her limited options with pain medications, we had to explore other ways to manage her pain and assist her with mobility so she can live her best life. Sasha immediately fell in love with Emma and will do anything she asks Sasha to do and Dr. Zenoni has given Sasha such care. Sasha has done water treadmill, laser therapy, floor exercises, laser therapy, tens machine and acupuncture. Regardless of the therapy, Sasha is willing to try it all if Emma and her I ask her to. Liver treats don’t hurt either!
IPC has been a godsend and a necessary part of her life for the last 3 years.
Sasha has beaten the odds all her life. Within a month of adopting her at 10 weeks old, she contracted parvovirus and was given a 50/50 chance of survival. It was a rough beginning but she made it through and has withstood 10 surgeries for her many joint and other ailments throughout her life. Through it all, she has faced every hurdle with bravery, sweetness and some of that Chow stubbornness. I’ve learned so much about life and myself through her eyes and in a blink 15 years has passed by. I thank God everyday that she’s my girl—I just couldn’t have pictured my life without her.”
Sasha is a special lady who I look forward to seeing every week. She has been through so much and I’m proud to be part of her team! -Emma, Sasha’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Since she is a sassy senior herself, Sasha has asked us to tell you about Young at Heart.
Young at Heart’s mission is to rescue and rehome senior dogs and cats, to educate the public on the benefits of adopting older pets and their care, and to reduce the euthanasia rate for adoptable senior pets.
Tucker’s journey starts when he was found roaming the streets of Southern Illinois with his mom and siblings. Luckily he was taken in by Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education & Welfare (BREW). His future mom had been looking for a male companion for her other beagle, and she was smitten when she saw his picture online. When they met in person, it was love at first sight!
“Tucker first came to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen for Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). He had previously had surgery to correct the problem, but when he had a subsequent episode he came to us for help. Tucker was in tremendous pain and barely able to walk. We started an aggressive treatment plan of pain medication and rehabilitation modalities including TENS, acupuncture and manual therapy.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke explains Tucker’s condition
Dr. Melissa Trupia performed his first acupuncture treatment and he did amazingly well for his first session! When he returned for his second acupuncture session 4 days later, Tucker was willing and able to stand and ambulate on his own. “We were all so pleased with his progress and agreed that he was ready for additional treatment modalities including manual therapy and hydrotherapy.” -Dr. Trupia
Therapist Valerie tells us about Tucker’s therapy experience- “His pain was so intense that he would not weight bear on his rear limbs to stand or walk and Tucker allowed minimal hands-on work. He allowed cupping and manual therapy over his spinal muscles during his second session. By the 3rd and 4th treatment session, Tucker was now walking back to the therapy gym and was a completely different dog!”
“I cannot put into words how much everyone at IPC has helped my pets and supported us.. When I brought Tucker in this year, he was barely walking, and I had little hope he would walk again. He has many other health issues I have been trying to get ahead of this year, and this re-injury was a gigantic step backward for us. I was unclear of what the future may hold, but one thing I did know is the only team I trusted to help him were Dr. Amber, Valerie, Katie, Tiffany, Dr. Melissa and Jill! IPC of Homer Glen gave my best friend a longer pain-free life filled with happiness, mobility and lots of love. Thanks to the entire team, Tucker will continue to be spoiled and loved immensely.” -Becky, Tucker’s mom
“Tucker has made amazing strides at IPC and never fails to surprise us. It has been a joy to watch him return to the things he loves most!” -Therapist Tiffany
Midwest Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare, Inc is a 501(c)3 non profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing beagles from high-kill shelters. We adopt beagles to families within Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and have also placed beagles into loving homes in Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri
“We got Timmy from M.O.P.S. Pug Rescue and Adoption (a Chicago area pug rescue) in December 2014 when he was about to turn 10. I first saw him when they did a Facebook post asking for funds to help pay vet bills for two new pugs they had taken in. There was just something about him, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Over the next week I kept going back and looking at his PetFinder profile and then finally submitted an application. I had another pug, Violet, and was a little worried about how she would feel about it, but M.O.P.S. felt that it would be a good fit (after asking a lot of questions about her and meeting her at the home visit) and they were right! It was love at first sniff.” – Christina, Timmy’s mom
Christina first came to Integrative Pet Care with her other Pug Violet after she tore a knee ligament, so she knew just the place to bring Timmy for his mobility issues. Timmy was dragging his rear legs and couldn’t walk very far. A rehabilitation program was prescribed by Dr. Megan Ridley and he grew stronger and was able to go on longer(ish) walks. Unfortunately they returned about a year ago when he started having trouble walking again, this time due to neurological issues.
Christina feels that weekly therapies have slowed down his declining mobility and helps manage his pain, but it also gives Timmy some fun every week! “I love, love, love working with Timmy! He’s really started enjoying his sessions and works hard for his treats” says his therapist Laura.
“IPC has also been extremely helpful in giving me suggestions how to manage day to day issues with his changing mobility.” -Christina
Timmy was recently fitted for a cart and we were all unsure how he’d adapt. Well, he blew us out of the water when he got in zoomed away! “Within the first two minutes of using a cart he was running gleefully around the office! He’s had no trouble adjusting too it. He loves to be out and about and to take long sniffy walks, and the cart means he gets to keep doing both. I’m really impressed with how much he can do in his carts, curbs and sidewalk bumps are no problem and he can turn on a dime. We call him the pugdozer in it because nothing gets in his way or slows him down!” -Christina
Christina gave us a little glimpse into Timmy’s daily life: “Weekdays are mostly about napping, walking around the neighborhood, and snuggling. But on weekends, Timmy loves to be out and about. He’s often out snackie shopping, doing errands, checking out other parts of the city, and traveling. You can see his adventures on IG/Twitter/FB at @TimmyOPug.”
M.O.P.S. Pug Rescue & Adoption is a Non-Profit 501c3 Company who has a group of volunteers dedicated to the welfare of pure bred pug dogs. M.O.P.S. works with Animal Shelters, Owner Relinquishments and Stray Pure Bred Pugs, fostering them until they are ready for their new homes
NIPRA is a 501c3 non-profit organization that exists to assist the community in placing any needy Pug dog in a permanent, loving home. All adoption fees and donations go solely for the rescue, care, and placement of mistreated, unwanted or homeless Pugs.
Connor is a five year old German Shepherd who was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia at nine months old. At the suggestion of a surgeon, his mom Jennifer decided to try rehabilitation first due to his young age and high energy level.
Connor met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and Valerie who prescribed a rehabilitation program that included strengthening and pain management modalities. Connor is not a big fan of strangers, so it took a little bit for him to trust his new rehabilitation team. “Although he was not a huge fan of manual therapy in the beginning, Connor learned to tolerate it, which helped increase his hip and shoulder range of motion” says Valerie.
“When I started working with Connor we would take 5-10 minutes for him to get comfortable with me before we could start his sessions. Now, he and I are the best of friends! I look forward to his sessions as does he. He rarely has a bad day, but can recover quickly if he does. Connor is a big baby and I love working with him. He trusts that I only want to help him, and you can tell he enjoys his time in the clinic.” – Katie, Connor’s therapist
“Connor just celebrated his fifth birthday on December 17th. At this point he does not and may never need surgery on his hips. This alone is amazing. At nine months it was almost guaranteed that he would need surgery with in the first few years of life. He has had a few injuries over the years and each time Dr. Ihrke and Katie have never hesitated once to make sure he got the exact care he needed. He runs and plays with his pit pull sister with no problems or pain. He acts like he is still a silly puppy.”- Jennifer, Connor’s mom.
“Connor has become one of our regulars and we look forward to keeping him happy and moving well as the years continue.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Connor has asked us to tell you about Half-Way Home Animal Rescue.
Our Mission is to ensure that every animal is treated with the respect that they deserve; to educate our communities on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets; in order to solve the pet overpopulation problem; the humane treatment and care of all animals, and to help the many animals that are being put to death in our communities every day, due to no fault of their own.
“Charlie has been a part of our family since he was 10 weeks old, joining Buffy, a 5-year-old blind Cocker Spaniel and Sadie, an 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel. Charlie’s very energetic, social with everyone and very loving. He loves to spend time out in his yard running around the pool at full speed trying to get his other brothers and sisters to play with him. He would rather sit out in the grass or on the deck on a nice warm summers day than to take a nice cool dip in the pool with the others.
In June of this year Charlie became very wobbly as he walked, and suddenly had no control over his legs at all; it was like he became paralyzed and was having severe muscle spasms in his chest area. I immediately called his doctors at Colonial Manor and brought him in. After taking x-rays and doing a full exam Charlie was diagnosed with a form of myelopathy and disc problems and I was told that he may never walk again. From that moment on, Charlie became immobile and had to be carried everywhere. I couldn’t give up on my sweet baby boy. After a few weeks he began to move his legs again and a few more days after that he started to get up, but that quickly stopped, and he was down and immobile again. Hand water and feeding him and diaper changes throughout the day and night had to happen again and it was worse than the first time.” -Brian, Charlie’s dad.
Charlie was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen where he met with Dr. Amber Ihke and therapist Valerie Williams who created a treatment program which included NMES (electrical stimulaton), underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Charlie is a stubborn guy who improved in spite of himself. He came to us non-ambulatory and wasn’t motivated to get up and move. We began with instructing the owner how to use an NMES unit on all four of the patient’s limbs to stimulate muscular contraction. Although Charlie would not move during his therapy sessions, his owner reported slow improvements at home with increased mobility. Eventually, Charlie was able to stand with support and he began exercising in the underwater treadmill. Finally, it seemed like Charlie turned a corner and returned to walking outside at home without assist and even began negotiating stairs to enter and exit his home!” -Valerie
“Charlie is our little miracle; he could literally do nothing on his own! After weeks of intensive therapy and the diligent care giving of his owner, Charlie is now walking and running independently. A true testament to the power of rehabilitation.” -Dr. Amber Ihrke
“With Integrative Pet Care of Homer Glen’s therapy plan along with daily home exercises & NMES while using his cart, Charlie started to show signs of movement. As of today, he got his appetite back and enjoys his food on his own and he is out walking around the yard again and even does some running around. He is back to going for short rides in the car and he is even going for short walks again to the local park. I never gave up on my little guy and neither did Dr. Ihrke and Valerie who made it their personal mission to get Charlie walking again and give him his quality of life back. THANK YOU Integrative Pet Care!” -Brian
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Charlie has asked us to tell you about Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter.
T.L.C. has served the community as a private, non-profit, humane society, dedicated to the prevention of abuse, neglect, and cruelty to animals. The shelter provides refuge for an average of three to four thousand animals yearly.
Here’s small snippets of Charlie’s road to recovery:
In May of 2017, the founder of Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, Erin, was contacted by Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue about a 2 month old French Bulldog puppy who was unable to walk. They needed an experienced foster home and funding for rehabilitation to get her mobile as soon as possible. Erin agreed and Gertie came to Integrative Pet Care immediately.
After meeting with Dr. Megan Ridley and Emma, it was suspected that Swimmer Puppy Syndrome was the cause of her mobility issues. An intense rehabilitation program was prescribed which included daily exercise and swimming therapy sessions. Everyone on staff pitched in to work with Gertie whenever they could. Erin, who is also a canine rehabilitation and massage therapist at IPC, diligently worked with her at home as well.
Within in the first week, Gertie improved greatly; she was able to support herself and could even take a few steps independently! While swimming wasn’t her favorite activity, she did it without complaint all while looking adorable in her life jacket. After a few weeks she was walking on her own and doing advanced exercises in the gym.
Being part of her transformation was an amazing experience for everyone involved and lots of tears were shed in the process! -Dr. Megan Ridley
Gertie was officially adopted in June to a neighbor so Erin can still bring her for therapy everyday. Today she is 6 months old and is a happy & healthy puppy. Being part of Gertie’s transformation has been a wonderful experience for everyone on staff.
Gertie has since become a ‘spokesdog’ for Bialy’s Wellness Foundation as she is an incredible success story! You can follow her adventures on Instagram- @the_little_avocado.
Check out this progress video of our beloved Gertie (aka 🥑). Thank you to: Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue for taking her into your adoption program; Integrative Pet Care for the amazing rehabilitation therapists and veterinarians that worked your magic to help Gertie become mobile; Boulevard Veterinary for your always generous, kind and attentive staff & veterinarians; Josh the Pitbull – Special Needs and Happy for fostering our Little Avocado. #GertieStrong
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Gertie has asked us to tell you about the organization that changed her life, Bialy’s Wellness Foundation.
“Bialy’s Wellness Foundation helps families and rescue organizations care for pets with special needs, particularly those with mobility issues from paralysis, amputation, neurological or birth defects, and other diagnosed ailments.”
Hayde is an 11 year old Labrador whose high energy was initially directed toward hunting drills and trick training (she learned over 50 commands). “At 2 years old, she had already become a phenomenal hunting dog; able to put her game face on and get right to business. Even at 10 years old, she was still able to go full tilt for a week, jumping game in marshes, teaching her 2-year-old sister a thing or two about drive. Many a times we had to drag the stubborn mule out of the canoe at the end of the day as she just didn’t want to stop.
While hunting is her passion (and, strangely, licking freshly caught fish), she soon became a running partner in the off season, helping train for over a dozen marathons. During this, Hayde would reach a maximum distance of 19 miles only to come home and head straight to the back yard to play.” -Jeremy, Hayde’s owner
On April 27th, Hayde was out for a run with her sister when she was clipped by a car bumper. Her pelvis was completed shattered, so she had surgery at VCA Aurora Animal Hospital. Soon after surgery, Hayde met with Dr. Amber Irke and Valerie at Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen where a multi-modal 12 week program was created.
“When I first met Hayde her owners had to carry her in on a board because she could not walk or stand. Our first focus was to control her pain, so her owners were instructed on how to correctly use a TENS unit every day at home. She also received manual therapy sessions to decrease her muscle spasms and increase her hip range of motion.
Within two and half weeks Hayde went from being carried on a board to walking with a little help. She continued to make remarkable gains through the use of laser therapy and the underwater treadmill. She now walks around by herself and has returned to regular, long walks with her owners. I truly believe that without rehab Hayde would not have progressed so quickly and regained her ability to walk and play like she was able to before her accident.” – Valerie Williams
IPC Homer Glen initially helped to get Hayde’s pain under control so we could begin rehab exercises. Over the next few months IPC Homer Glen worked with Hayde and taught us the exercises needed to get her strength and flexibility back so she could eventually get back to standing, walking, and, finally, running. Most importantly Hayde could be herself again. -Jeremy
“Hayde’s story is truly inspirational. Watching the improvements, she made every week is a testament to the canine spirit. She never let anything slow her down and I’m so happy she is able to go back to doing what she loves, running with her parents” says therapist Katie Neforos.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Hayde has asked us to tell you about the adoptable dogs through The Dog District.
Kody is an almost 17 year old Sheltie who was referred to Integrative Pet Care by his primary care veterinarian at Family Pet Animal Hospital for mobility issues a year and a half ago. Kody developed arthritis in his front limbs which prevented him from climbing stairs, so his mom had to carry him. Char wanted to do everything she could to keep him strong and comfortable!
Dr. Deanne Zenoni created a treatment plan that included underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise, massage, laser and acupuncture. Kody wasn’t too sure about his therapies at first, but he quickly learned to enjoy them. His mom also thinks coming to IPC for love has also eased his car anxiety.
“Even though Kody hasn’t been able to go up the stairs again, I know the exercising and treatments he does are making a difference with his strength and flexibility. He, of course, walks slower like the senior dog that he is, but at times, he’ll all of a sudden get a spring in his step – at 16! IPC has helped slow down the inevitable decline that happens in senior dogs. Plus he’s still able to jump up on the couch (his favorite place to sleep).
Kody also gets to be in an incredibly loving community when he comes to IPC, which I think is quite healing. It’s amazing to me how he has settled in with the people and treatments. He was anxious at first but now sprawls on Dr. Zenoni’s lap during acupuncture (he’s not a lap dog at all with me), and he leans into Lindsey when she gives him a massage. Kody had little to no love in the first 5 ½ years of his life (he was used to breed and lived outside in a trailer park). I feel like I bring him to a place where he is surrounded by love. It warms my heart to see how well he’s treated and loved here, and I’m so happy for him to have this experience in his later years. Coming to IPC has also solidified Kody’s love of McDonald’s cheeseburgers (with no onions) as he gets one after every time he comes!
Unfortunately Kody has lost his eyesight over the years, but he manages and has adapted amazingly, particularly in places he knows. The night time and new places are the hardest for him. When we walk in the evening and in new places, I try to be his ‘eyes’ for him. He also searches for me when I’m right there in my place so I know he’s lost quite a bit of his sight.” -Char, Kody’s mom
“Kody has the attitude and resilience of a dog 1/3 his age – he never ceases to amaze me! The significant increase in his mobility over the years is a testament to how important it is to keep an older dog active both at therapy and at home. He’s a joy to work with and is always willing to try something new – I love knowing that his mom puts him through his paces and helps keep him active and engaged on a daily basis!” -Lindsey, Kody’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Kody has asked us to tell you about Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue.
“Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit, State Licensed, ALL Volunteer organization that helps homeless or abandoned Shetland Sheepdogs…also known as “Shelties”. We take in any Sheltie that needs us, address all their needs, and then place them in wonderful new homes.”
Integrative Pet Care was recommended when Ralph’s mom Peggy was searching for ways to improve his mobility. Ralph met with Dr. Amber Ihrke and a rehabilitation program was created that included underwater treadmill, therapeutic exercise & acupuncture.
“Ralph came to us with T3-L3 myelopathy without much functional use of his rear limbs. Having only two strong limbs to get around with didn’t stop Ralph too much from speeding from one place to the next, but he would just drag the rear limbs behind him. Good thing for Ralph, he really likes treats and was agreeable to some challenging work if he got some treats along the way.” – Katie Fitzgerald, one of Ralph’s therapists
Through his therapy program, Ralph improved quite a bit. He could stand on all four limbs and maintain the position to eat and drink, but his mom wanted to do more. Ralph was fitted for a cart to give him independent mobility. “Once Ralph was placed in his cart he began running around the rehab room. He easily negotiated the thresholds and quickly learned how to back up when his wheel hit a doorway or wall. I could not believe how fast Ralph adapted to his cart and how much happier he appeared with his new-found freedom in his cart. Ralph’s smiled seemed a bit brighter (tongue hanging out and all) after receiving his cart. We could not be happier for Ralph” -Valerie Williams
“From the first moment in his cart, Ralph was walking up/down the halls, walking in the grass and enjoying his new-found freedom.” -Dr. Ihrke
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Ralph has asked us to tell you about All Breed Rescue and Adoption, Inc.
Our mission is twofold: to save as many dogs and cats from living their final days in shelters and pounds as we can, and to educate the public so that one day our rescue won’t be necessary.
Soon after moving to the suburbs 3 years ago, fun loving Walter hurt himself playing in his new backyard. Even after many vet visits and several medications, he still seemed to be in pain and wouldn’t use his left front leg. Walter eventually had surgery, but it still didn’t relieve his pain completely. Integrative Pet Care was recommended and he met with his team who put him to work immediately. PT Valerie Williams explained that Walter’s program required a multimodal approach in order to decrease his pain and improve his mobility. “Walter is a very sweet boy and a joy to work with, even when he didn’t want to participate” says therapist Katie Dunbar!
“Walter came to Integrative Pet Care in Homer Glen with a severe limp on his left front limb. He had significant muscle loss and was painful with range of motion to that limb. At first, Walter was not very receptive to manual therapy over his left shoulder and forelimb. Through the use of therapeutic ultrasound over the shoulder and tendons, Walter allowed me to work on his shoulder and gained greater range of motion with less pain. Underwater treadmill was added to his therapy and Walter began to place more weight on his left forelimb. Walter received platelet rich plasma (PRP) in his left shoulder joint and a significant improvement was noted in Walter’s ability to walk on that limb. Walter was also placed in hobbles which limited the movement of his left front leg and his prevented him from overusing his leg at home. Slowly, Walter was allowed more mobility without his hobbles until he returned to walking and running without them.” -Valerie Williams
“With months of therapy Walter is now able to walk on the left front leg and play with the kids in the yard. Walter’s hard work and his family’s dedication to his therapy has made all the difference.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
“The staff at IPC Homer Glen are wonderful, everyone we worked with was so kind and loving with Walter. Within weeks of therapy, he was putting his leg down. It took months of work and patience, but Walter will now walk on his leg and even run on it; he’s a different dog and is acting like a puppy again!” –Walter’s parents Chris & Brianna
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Walter has asked us to tell you about JR’s Pups-N-Stuff.
JRs Pups-N-Stuff began with one goal in mind – to save animals from life threatening situations. We do not discriminate. We do not rescue dogs specifically because of their breed or age. We rescue animals that need us to save their lives.