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.”
“Life changed for both Elmo and I on March 18, 2003 when I found him on a construction site that I was working on in Arizona. He was 9 months old and it appeared that someone had left him at this remote location in the middle of the desert. He had made a bed on fiberglass insulation in a framed house and was eating food out of foil wrapped trash that I later picked from his gums as he laid his head in my lap. I tried for weeks to find his owner, taking him to work with me every day since I already had 3 rescues at home.
After a few weeks, I wasn’t getting anywhere in my search and I realized there was just no way I could give him up! He was meant to be one of the pack. In choosing his name, my ex-husband and I wanted something that wouldn’t make people afraid of this lovable, gentle, happy, red pit bull and Elmo came to mind and fit him perfectly! So, Elmo came to live with Max, Thumper and Santino and enjoyed playing in a huge yard. While he wasn’t fond of swimming, he would often lay in the few inches of water on the pool sun shelf to cool off, after sunning himself – all four legs up in the air – for hours in the hot AZ sun!
Elmo lived in AZ until 2009 when he and his brothers moved to Fishers, IN with me. He took well to the snow and cold and enjoyed a huge fenced wooded yard to play in and get in all sorts of trouble with raccoons and possums! This is where he started getting acupuncture treatments with his aging brothers and I really believe it has made a difference in the quality of life he has had for the last 7 years. I saw it in my other dogs as well.
When we moved to the Chicago area, I wanted to be sure to continue Elmo’s acupuncture treatments. Luckily, we found the great doctors at Integrative Pet Care of Hanover Park! Elmo had routine acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, laser and massage therapy with Integrative over the years, and would usually lay there sleeping through the treatments! He loved it!
In 2015, Elmo was diagnosed with inoperable cancer that was treated at Purdue in West Lafayette, IN. Elmo and I made the trek down there often for checkups and he earned two Radiation Therapy Treatment Diplomas that thankfully, kept the cancer from ever spreading.
The two radiation treatments and chemo pills he took daily for a couple years, both took a toll on him, but through it all he continued with his acupuncture treatments at Integrative Pet and it really made a difference in his being able to get around and walk the subdivision for hours each day, right up until the very end. I really believe that his mobility would not have been that good had he not been getting acupuncture treatments for the last almost 8 years!” -Jennifer, Elmo’s mom
“On 7/30/15 I had the privilege of meeting Elmo for the first time for an acupuncture session. He was such a character. He never complained and even fell asleep and started snoring at the time of his acupuncture. Besides having cancer, Elmo also battled with degenerative joint disease of the hips, stifles, carpus and elbows. Dr. Starr prescribed acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and underwater treadmill to aid in increasing mobility, muscle strengthening and to help with pain control. Myself and the staff at IPCHP fell in love with Elmo!” –Dr. Arlene Rodriguez
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Elmo has asked us to tell you about PAWS Chicago.
PAWS Chicago’s mission is to build no kill communities, end the overpopulation of homeless animals and to transform animal welfare.
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.
Shinto is a 12-year-old Shiba Inu who was previously very active. He earned titles in both AKC agility and coursing. Shinto was doing quite well until last February, when he suddenly fell to the ground and yelped out in pain. He was quickly taken to the emergency vet after he was unable to get up and walk on his own.
After having x-rays and blood work, Shinto was referred for an MRI where he was diagnosed with a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE), which is a blockage in the blood vessels of the spinal cord. He presented with ataxia of the hind limbs and knuckling of the rear paws. Rehabilitation was recommended and Shinto started right away. A program was prescribed that included underwater treadmill, acupuncture & chiropractic, therapeutic exercise/massage, and laser therapy. Shinto’s owner felt that choosing to apply all the different types of therapies available has allowed Shinto to continue with his active lifestyle.
“Shinto has done wonderful with the prescribed program and he now plays, uses the stairs and does not knuckle with his rear paws as he did before.” –Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, DVM, CCRT
Because of all his hard work, Shinto was able to return to competing in nosework! He has earned his NW1 & NW2 titles. He is currently working on his NW3 thanks to his ongoing therapy.
“He is a STAR in the underwater treadmill and has improved so much with his rehabilitation that he has been able to return to his beloved nosework classes.” -Susan Trchka, PT, CCRT
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Shinto has asked us to tell you about Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue.
Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit rescue that seeks out, fosters, and places homeless Shiba Inu dogs into carefully screened, lifelong, and nurturing homes. MSIR serves Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri areas.
Nikita is a 13 year old pug who was referred to Integrative Pet Care Homer Glen when her primary care veterinarian at Colonial Manor Animal Hospital diagnosed her with osteoarthritis (OA) at the lumbosacral area, & possibly in the elbows. She couldn’t go for long walks, had problems with stairs and losing balance with her back legs. “As Nikita got older, she began to have back pain and abnormal movement in her hind legs. We started Nikita on Adequan and referred her to IPC for additional treatment. Their services have helped increase her comfort and quality of life as she ages. They not only focus on her back issues but all health concerns.” says Dr. Debbie Anello.
“Nikita has been my patient for the last 18 months and always makes me smile! We initially had her in a plan that included hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and acupuncture. She responded very well and now has a home exercise program and comes to see me for acupuncture every 3-4 weeks. Nikita is a great example of how a little TLC for a senior patient can allow for improved mobility and improved quality of life.” – Dr. Amber Ihrke
“Nikita was such a sweet old lady when she came to us but she was having trouble keeping up with the new puppy in her home. By the end of therapy, Nikita was walking circles on the trampoline and maneuvering obstacle courses set up by Katie. She can now play (and get away) from the new puppy. Nikita is a type of patient who shows that age doesn’t matter. If you start getting an older dog moving, they regain their lively and spunky personality they had once before”, explains her therapist Valerie Williams.
Katie Dunbar, Nikita’s therapist, knew she had made progress after hearing that she could not only play with her new puppy, but get away from her as well!
“What a difference this made! The IPC ladies were all so nice and patient with Nikita and did a great job. Now Nikita can go for short walks. She can use the stairs a bit better and chase the bunnies slowly. Most importantly she can now defend herself against her little sister! I appreciate everything IPC has done for my old girl.” -Elizabeth, Nikita’s mom
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Nikita 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.
We first met Digger a little over 2 years ago when her parents noticed she started slowing down. After meeting with Dr. Megan Ridley, a formal rehabilitation program was created that included strengthening modalities such as underwater treadmill and exercise, as well as laser, acupuncture and massage therapy which were prescribed for pain management. Digger loved her therapies right away and her mobility improved.
“IPC has helped Digger’s daily functioning – mobility, flexibility, stability. The laser and acupuncture really help ease stiffness and pain. The training you have provided and continue to provide so that we can work with her at home has been unbelievably helpful. Digger would not be as mobile if not for her weekly visits.” -Bonnie, Digger’s mom
Digger has a lot of loves in life like watching trains and snoozing under the covers, but nothing beats swimming in the lake- toss a tennis ball and she’s off! She still enjoys taking walks, but it involves more smelling than walking these days.
“As a 15 year old pit bull mix, Digger has developed more issues over the years, but that hasn’t changed her attitude. She comes in ready to work and is all smiles (and barks) while doing it!” –Dr. Ridley
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Digger has asked us to tell you about C.A.R.E.
Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to serve the communities of Chicago’s North Shore by fostering and supporting healthy, positive relationships between people and companion animals. C.A.R.E. rehomes companion pets into safe, healthy, lifelong homes; serves as an educational and counseling resource; and works to reduce pet overpopulation.
“We got MaeBelle from a local breeder when she was 9 weeks old. She is a very sweet and loving girl…all of our nieces, nephews and grandchildren tell her ‘no Mae – Mae stop’ because she can’t stop kissing them! Mae likes to take long walks, play with tennis balls, and swim when we go camping and boating. Because of her activity level, we were caught unaware with her diagnosis of hip dysplasia in January, as she never had a prolonged period of limping or lameness. We are still not sure what triggered her limping, but we are very grateful to her primary care veterinarian who believes she was most likely born with it.
We had worked with Integrative Pet Care in the past, so we did not hesitate to bring MaeBelle in to see Dr. Starr. The care she received has been extraordinary! Every treatment is broken down so we can understand it, but more importantly it’s tailor made so that Mae’s hips can tolerate it.
In the time she has been receiving treatment, we have noticed an improvement in her mobility that we didn’t even notice she was missing. She is now playing more with our other dog and is really enjoying our walks. A HUGE thank you to her team for being so patient with her and us, and for teaching us what we need to help keep MaeBelle healthy and happy…and slimmer!” -Laura, MaeBelle’s mom
“MaeBelle and her family have been such a pleasure to work with. She has shown tremendous improvement in her comfort in her hips, strength in her hind legs, overall fitness level, and her gait after just eight weeks of physical rehabilitation. These improvements have translated into a much happier and more active dog, and are a testament to the hard work of her owners as well as how much physical rehabilitation can improve the quality of life and function for dogs with hip dysplasia. We are thrilled that MaeBelle is able to start doing more normal activities like swimming, and are looking forward to being part of her continued success.” –Dr. Lisa Starr
“I have had the pleasure of working with MaeBelle since January of this year to help improve strength in her hind limbs due to hip dysplasia. MaeBelle has been a STAR patient throughout her therapy- she always comes to therapy ready to work!” –Anna, MaeBelle’s therapist
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. MaeBelle has asked us to tell you about as Good as Gold.
As Good as Gold – Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois is dedicated to the rescue, care and adoption of Golden Retrievers and golden mixes who are in need. In addition, As Good as Gold educates Golden Retriever guardians and the general public about the importance of spaying/neutering, positive training methods, diet and exercise, appropriate medical treatment and humane care.