“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.”
Duke is a dutch shepherd/black lab mix who tore his cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) over a year ago. His surgery had to be postponed since his dad David was was stationed in Germany at the time. Once he arrived home, Duke was off to see Dr. Abell at VCA Aurora where a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery was performed.
David knew how import rehabilitation was post surgery so he did his homework and chose Integrative Pet Care because of their certified staff. “After 4 weeks of sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the basement with Duke, we had our first Integrative Pet Care appointment. The massage therapist was amazing and I could definitely tell Duke felt really relaxed and comfortable with her. It was a perfect way to introduce Duke to the IPC program and later we started the underwater treadmill and laser therapies. I have to say I noticed an IMMEDIATE improvement in his gait after laser sessions. Duke loves the water so every time we came, he would head straight for the tank hoping he was going to get to play in the water.” -David
David and Duke were eager to get him back to his favorite activity, swimming, so once he was cleared by the surgeon, he was off to the pool! The duo recently moved to Switzerland where Duke is able to to swim at least once weekly outside and he loves every minute of it. Even though David notices the occasional limp when Duke’s been overly active, he says that he is doing 100% better than he ever thought.
“Duke and his dad have been great to work with and Duke is doing fantastic after rehabilitation. Duke has been able to return to all of his normal activities and his dad will be using techniques he learned here to continue therapies in their new home. We wish them safe travels and lots of adventures in the future!” – Dr. Jennifer Blake
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.
In her first few months of life, Sookey was sick with puppy strangles, or juvenile cellulitis, and was nursed back to health by her loving foster mom. While in remission for puppy strangles, Sookey was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 7 months of age. She recently completed an 8 week therapy program with Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park that primarily included underwater treadmill, exercise therapy, and laser therapy. She works hard for her peanut butter Kong! While we have seen improvement in her hips, Sookey will be continuing with another 8 week program.
“Sookey has been a wonderful patient and it has been a pleasure working with her and watching her improve. Sookey’s progress has shown that rehabilitation is an option and can be beneficial if surgery is not feasible. I am looking forward to working with her in the future.” -Dr. Jennifer Blake, DVM, CVA, CCRT
At home, Sookey loves to run and play with the squeakiest toys she can find and insists on greeting all the dogs in the neighborhood. She is currently in the 2nd level of training classes and recently became a proud big sister to baby Adeline! She is already a great protector and always keeps an eye on her new best friend.
“I started working with Sookey in February to help build up her hind limb muscles due to hip dysplasia. Sookey does an excellent job walking in the underwater treadmill. She learned quickly that a peanut butter kong helps make the time go by faster when she is getting her laser therapy! Sookey’s Mom and Dad are doing a great job with her at home!” -Anna, CVT, CCRA
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Sookey has asked us to tell you about Almost Home Foundation.
“We are an all volunteer, registered, not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and dogs. Our primary focus is to save those animals from our local area.”
Rocko is 12-year-old Weimaraner who participates in upland game hunting across the country. He has achieved the title of Master Hunter, which is the highest rank in hunt test events. Outside of his hunting adventures, Rocko was also a therapy dog who visited nursing homes, hospitals and libraries. Rocko’s mom Mary, who is a veterinary technician, noticed that he had a difficult time keeping his hind end up while standing and was reluctant to run. Being the self-proclaimed overly attentive owner, she consulted with the veterinarian she worked with who suggested rehabilitation therapy.
Rocko met with Dr. Amber Ihrke who prescribed a rehabilitation program which Rocko and his mom diligently followed. “Rocko is an active sporting dog who was showing progressive signs of rear limb weakness. The x-rays of his lumbar spine and pelvis were unremarkable, so his source of weakness was unknown. We started Rocko on a plan of manual therapy, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises and chiropractic adjustments and each week Rocko’s mobility, endurance and flexibility improved”, explains Dr. Amber Ihrke.
“Through rehab and the dedication of his owners with his home exercise program, Rocko returned to hunting without any problems or pain in his back. Rocko continues to see us at IPC through a maintenance program. Our goal is to keep an eye on him in order to decrease the likelihood of his back causing him problems in the future.” -Valerie Willaims, one of Rocko’s therapists.
“Rocko has graduated to a maintenance program and is doing well. He is running in the field much better and is playing with the other Weimaraners in the house. Our goal is to continue with therapy and home exercises so he can go on his fall hunt trip to South Dakota; I couldn’t be happier.” – Mary, Rocko’s mom
“Rocko knows that age is only a number; all he wanted to do was get back in the field and run. After completing his initial rehabilitation program, he is doing exactly that! He is a great example of what rehabilitation can give back to older guys. He may not be able to keep up with his baby brother, but he can run and play and do whatever he wants pain free”, gushes his biggest fan & therapist, Katie.
Make a difference!
Each month we ask our POTM to choose an animal related organization to spotlight during his or her “reign”. Rocko has asked us to tell you about Cache Creek Animal Shelter.
Our mission is to rescue and adopt out as many dogs and cats as safely possible, regardless of their age, health (we still rescue if there are health issues) or breed. In an effort to help control the increasing pet population it is our policy that each animal we adopt out is spayed or neutered.