ARCC news and thoughts

Options for Animals

Learning to palpate and feel the motion in a pelvis- we took turns being a dog or a human.

Learning to palpate and feel the motion in a pelvis- we took turns being a dog or a human.

I went to chiropractic school in Kansas last week. The school is called Options for Animals and I must admit I went with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I have never had chiropractic therapy, that I know of, and I just didn’t see how “cracking a spine” was going to cure a problem. I have also seen friends, colleagues and family members going to the chiropractor over and over but never really resolving their problems until now.

The first day or two I was a little overwhelmed by the terminology and the information was well written along with being presented in a good manner but I still had the “chip”. The instructors insisted that anyone who had not had chiropractic therapy on themselves had to let one of the chiropractors in the room adjust them — I was very reluctant and very leery — it looks violent and the loud popping was just too intense for me. Now in case you don’t know it, I am not really a touchy feely kind of person; I have improved over the years from backing away to actually allowing some people to hug me so this was a little too much hands on me.

The rest of the class seemed very “normal” about the whole touch thing except for veterinarians — it’s funny but we can let an animal climb all over us and not blink an eye but let someone lay a hand on your back, hip, leg and we all tensed up.

I finally let someone do my “adjustment” and she told me exactly what I expected to hear — my body is a mess! Years of work on my knees, crawling in the exam room, lifting too large of animals up, just general life in the day of a veterinarian but it is hard on a body. Kiley adjusted me and I must also admit that I did feel better — those little nagging aches seemed to be gone — it was great!

A lot of time was spent in lecture but the fun began when we actually got to lay hands on the animals — we palpated horses and dogs and learned how to start the process of adjustment. I haven’t been around horses much lately but I truly enjoyed working on them. The dogs were mostly rescues who were so glad to have hands on them, it was hard to hold them still long enough to work but this is also typical in the office.

We got a lot of snow on the last evening we were in class and most everybody had left for the day but I was still there with a few veterinarians and chiropractors. We were having fun discussing our cases, lives, interests while it continued to snow; finally, one of the instructors popped her head in and suggested we leave before it got too bad. As we were leaving I realized that I had lost something — my “chip” was gone; I had made new friends, new ideas were with me, and the old mindset of “chiropractic therapy” was changed — I had grown!

Have fun this week, learn something new, let go of outdated ideas and make some new friends! Hoppy Easter!  

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!

Chiropractic School — Here I Come!

Hey all,

I am on my way to the airport and I thought I would jot a quick blog for you. I am going to Kansas, weather there is 25 degrees without the windchill — brrrrr, to start chiropractic classes. It is going to be a 6 month school in which I will have to be away from the office for a week each month — except August and I will be away 2 weeks in that month. Needless to say, I am going to rack up some airline miles.

I am nervous about starting another new adventure but excited also. I had a whirlwind week trying to get this all together and now I am glad it is about to start so I can settle into the rhythm. I had company yesterday to help keep me grounded — Rocket and Crumpet were both in the office. Rocket thinks Crumpet is pretty and she is not saying much about it but I keep seeing her cast her eyes towards him — I think she might be warming up to him.

Hope you all stay warm and dry and I will keep you posted throughout the week about what I am learning and doing. See you next week!

Rocket checking out Crumpet and she is ignoring him -- for now.

Rocket checking out Crumpet and she is ignoring him — for now.

Just Do It!

The room filling up at the SCAVT talk in Columbia -- first "official" talk!

The room filling up at the SCAVT talk in Columbia — first “official” talk!

So this weekend I gave a talk to the South Carolina Association of Veterinary Technicians in Columbia. I had been approached about giving this talk a few months ago and I was nervous about it but it was a chance to get me out there.

I agreed to give the talk and asked about how many they thought would be present and was told 20-30 people; a little nerve wracking but it was typical classroom speech size so I was okay.

I then got some handouts together, so I called about the number present and was told about 50 — eek! things were getting a little more scary but again I was going to be able to handle it.

I got my stuff packed, got dressed up, got in the truck and drove to Columbia. I went in to give my speech and there were about 70-80 people — yeah, I know — big whoop but it was already stressful and then slightly scary but all those people — aggghhh! it was absolutely frightening.

The speech went off, of course there were a couple of glitches but all in all I think it went well. The whole point of this is that all of us get this idea of how our pet is going to be, perform, do, etc. but then little things begin to get bigger and the next thing you know it is the elephant in the room.

Now I know you are thinking that I can’t compare my speech to your dog training but I can! The whole idea of training is to figure out those little glitches and allow you to grow and expand with your dog. I got up to do my speech and I had to rely on my weeks of practice, my notes, and then when things fell a little apart I had to improvise and ask for help from the moderator. She got the computer back to running normally and I continued with my talk — that is what you all have a trainer for — to help you improvise and to ask for help.

Your dog trainers are out there everyday figuring out how to improvise for each pet. They are getting continuing education, training their own pets to see how to improve, and figuring out how to improve you and your pet’s working relationship — use them, thank them for their insight and grow with them.

I have another talk due on Thursday to a group of students at Greenville Tech and then another in April for Spartanburg Kennel Club — believe me there will be improvising, growing and improving with each talk and none of it will be the same. Have a good week and have fun!





Boomer in his doggles

Boomer in his doggles

We were busy last week and it was nice. I found some new friends (furry and human), had a couple of open house days and generally was running around like crazy. You know the feeling — we all do it whether it is the holidays or whether it is the show season.

I have seen you getting yourself and your pet ready for the show. You are making sure you get your entry in on time, booking rooms, scheduling last minute training, last minute massage/rehab/laser, packing your stuff and your dog’s stuff, and you go through this craziness every week or two. It is fun, great, enjoyable and STRESSFUL!

I’ll admit that I was stressing before the open house — worried that I didn’t get enough food, drink, would anyone come — but once I got the stuff in place and sat down; I enjoyed myself. I am amazed by my dogs and they remind me constantly to just enjoy.

I have been trying to bring my two dogs to work with me but Cassidy, the big loveable mutt, stresses out the whole time she is at work.

Cassidy will pace, pant, whine and generally does not want to be here — she wants to go but she doesn’t like the car ride and she really doesn’t like staying in the office. By the end of the day — she is wigged out and I am stressed by trying to calm her. On the car ride home, she still is worried and stressed but the minute her feet hit the yard — whoosh! the stress falls away and she is fine. She wants to play, chase, love up against you; she becomes the love biscuit we all know.

The point is some stress is good for you but you need to relax and let things go once in a while. Give your dog and yourself a break. Take a day or two before the show and play – don’t train – let you and your dog have fun together.

On the day of the show, get there early and take some deep breaths; if you stress out then your dog picks up on it and they will stress. I know that you all train hard for the show and you want to win but it is also supposed to be fun and enjoyable.

Having said that, I got to run – I have a long list I need to do before the show this weekend – laundry, packing the car, unpacking and setting up at the show, making sure I have everything – acckkk!

Breathe deep and have fun! See you at the shows!

Cassidy in a Thundershirt with Stress Away on board -- Lily keeping her company

Cassidy in a Thundershirt with Stress Away on board — Lily keeping her company


ARCC — Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center is OPEN!

Rocket -- handsome boy

Rocket — handsome boy

Just a quick note to tell you that we are finally open and the treadmill is operational. Rocket has become our first underwater treadmill patient and he walked on it for the first time yesterday. It was exhilarating for both of us. I have made a small video but I need to edit it first.

We are going to have a “clinic warming” in which you may stop by and see the facility with 3 different days and times listed.

ARCC — Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center is OPEN!

Come by, see the facility, talk with Dr. Kennedy and see how we can help your patients, family members and friends.

Visit us on February 2nd from 12-2 pm, February 4th from 2-4 pm and February 6th from 4-6 pm

Ya’ll come by now, ya hear!

It’s finally happened — wow!

Almost Ready!

Tom putting the Oasis H20 Underwater Treadmill into place

Tom putting the Oasis H20 Underwater Treadmill into place

Well, I was gone last week and part of this week to the North America Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Florida. I learned a lot at the meeting and met with a few old friends along with making a few new friends. I enjoyed myself and I got to see my family for a brief visit.

The best part of NAVC though was the coming home — woohoo! I was tired, missing my family (husband and furries) and I was sooo excited about seeing the treadmill in the clinic.

I came straight to the clinic after landing and ran through to take a picture; unfortunately, the guy was not quite as tickled to have his picture taken on the attack, but — oh well.

The installers have made a mess of what took me a while to clean up; like they say — you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

The Canine Sports Medicine tract at NAVC was two days this year — two whole days of Sports Medicine — it was intense but there are some cool things happening on the horizon for all of us. I learned a ton about orthotics and prosthetics in our pets — this field is fascinating.

I learned about minimally invasive fracture repairs — basically the surgeon makes a small slit above the fracture and below the fracture, threads the plate under the skin and tightens it at the ends; the results seem to heal much faster than the older method of opening the fracture area up and moving everything around.

I learned about some new custom bracing techniques — you heat it in the oven and form fit it to your pet; Martha Stewart better move over! I also learned about drug testing in pets — it has gotten scary when you can test positive for drugs in the meats you eat.

Between the Sports Medicine, Pain Management, Acupuncture and Rehabilitation classes — I am tired but I can’t wait to get that treadmill running; maybe I should go check on the installer! See you later!

Scheduling Time for You and Your Pet

Ursa getting a little pampering -- isn't she stylish?

Ursa getting a little pampering — isn’t she stylish?

I don’t know about you but this year, even though we are only two weeks into it, has been busy. I have worked the Clemson Show, had clients in the clinic already — yay!, my book club meeting, my civil war re-enactment meeting, and I participated in The Puppy Nanny’s two year birthday bash — whew! I need a break — but no rest for the weary (or wicked as my grandmother would say).

Now I am on my way to the North American Veterinary Conference in Florida. I know you are thinking — I will be out playing, but I am a very serious student so I will be in class from 8 until 5 each day. I don’t know about you but sitting in class all day long is so tiring. I am sure I will find some fun in my down time but I will be thinking of all I need to do back home.

I enjoy the classes most of the time and I usually learn some little tidbit that would be helpful for some pet I am seeing. My notes are usually littered with names to the side saying would this work for Cassidy, etc. Then I get home and have to find those tidbits again so I can call and speak with the owners about it.

All this rushing around has been exhilarating because it means we are finally starting with the business but it can be overwhelming and exhausting also. The point I am trying to make is that we all need to take a little time every once in a while and take a break. It could be as simple as sleeping in, having dinner with a friend, going to a movie, taking a walk — something that you don’t usually get to do because of your too busy life.

The same thing with your pet — if you spend each and every day — training, running, swimming, even though you love it — it can become boring. Spend some time just playing with your pet, cuddling, laying around — make it a special just you and me time with no other distractions. Now if you are lucky like me and have multiple pets that means that on lazy Sunday afternoons everybody piles in the bed together for a nap — doesn’t usually happen but occasionally we can do it.

This winter has been fairly mild so get out and enjoy a quiet time for you and your pet — take advantage of the New Year to start a new habit of pampering yourselves even if it is just for few minutes.  I will see you next week with lots of new ideas — have a good week!

Eekkk! I almost forgot when I return next week they will be putting the underwater treadmill in place — how am I going to concentrate now?!

Eekkk! I almost forgot about the underwater treadmill installation -- I will never concentrate now!

Eekkk! I almost forgot about the underwater treadmill installation — I will never concentrate now!


Are we ready to go in yet?

Are we ready to go in yet?

I cannot express how excited I am that we are finally open. It is not all in place yet and the underwater treadmill still has to be installed at the end of the month but we are open for business.

I have spent the last few years running around the Upstate helping pets with my laser, acupuncture and hands on but now we have a lot of tools at ARCC that will be so helpful now that we are up and running.

I was at the Clemson Dog Show this weekend and I got to talk to quite a few people. I took some great action shots and had some great conversations with pets and their owners.

The best thing about the show was getting to have fun with the dogs while playing on the FitPAWS equipment. I know that I tend to get on my soapbox a little about conditioning, warming up and cooling down appropriately, but that is my thing. I find that I have preached this so much that as I was talking to one competition owner — she said in the middle of our conversation — “oh, you and your balls”. Eh, what can I say?

Some of the equipment we have available at ARCC — Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center include:

  • Oasis H2O Underwater Treadmill — improves rehabilitation post injury or surgery, improves neurological injury, muscle strengthening, improves joint function, decreases pain, helps maintain fitness, sport conditioning
  • VetSystems Whirlpool — muscle strengthening, improves blood flow, releases endorphins, massage like therapy
  • Land Treadmills — increases strength, increases cardiovascular stamina, improves balance and proprioception
  • Pulsed Signal Therapy — decreases pain, decreases inflammation, helps non-union fractures to heal
  • Therapeutic Lasers — repairs tissue, decreases inflammation and decreases pain
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound — decreases pain, increases blood flow, improves tissue nutrition, decreases scar formation
  • E-stim — decreases pain, accelerates tissue healing, muscle strengthening, prevents disuse atrophy of the muscles
  • PetSafe Stance Analyzer — used to determine if your pet is standing square or has decreased weight on a foot
  • Therapeutic exercise equipment — improves balance and proprioception, increases strength, increases limb awareness, sport conditioning
  • Acupuncture — stimulates nerves, decreases pain, increases healing
  • Pain Management — decreases pain, elevates function of life, increases longevity

I tried to take a picture of me jumping for joy — it is difficult to time the shot with the jump by yourself; when my husband finally came to help I swear he made me jump just for the fun of it.

I got a couple in which you can see that I did actually leave the ground but 20-30 jumps later – this is still the best shot. Now I am going home to laser my knees and take pain meds!


Colors and Tiles

Today we had to pick out the colors for the walls and the tile for the floor. I never knew how many colors look so alike and then to pick the tile to try and match them. I am sure I drove the contractor crazy but he stuck with me through it. I enlisted the help of everybody including the dogs — Lily didn’t care as long as she was held.

The remodeling is officially starting tomorrow — I can’t wait. I will post more pictures as the work progresses.

ARCC Building — How to Get Ready in Slow Motion

I have been taking a few classes on business trying to get ready for Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center (ARCC) to open. The contractors, phone lines, computer programs, product, and all the other little items seem to be piling up.

I am feeling very overwhelmed and on top of it all I lose my 16-year-old pet to old age. I felt very behind others in my business marketing class because I didn’t have a website and a lot of the following lessons built upon the website.

Family obligations meant I also had to take a few days and go out of town. Since we were flying, I was unable to load up all the homework, notebooks, and all the other paraphernalia along with the computer. I was totally stressed thinking about leaving in the middle of everything but it had to be done.

I spent the next 3 days in a whirlwind of activity that can only be experienced by having family in the same general area but all intent that you spend every last minute with them. I hardly had time to breathe let alone think about homework. I came home somewhat relaxed but also worried about how to make the time up with everything that I had to accomplish. I must admit that I had a fairly good time being away from it all and it probably helped me to focus a little better when I got back.

I came home with a clear head and was able to focus on the tasks at hand. I accomplished a lot more that first day back than I had in the previous week prior to the family obligation. It was an AHA moment.

Sometimes you have to walk away to see the forest instead of just seeing trees.

This is why a lot of times when I discuss pain in pets, the owners don’t see it; they are looking at the trees. It takes another perspective, a different view, to help bring it into focus. Is it because they aren’t looking? No, it’s because they are too close to the situation and need to walk back a bit to see.

I feel that a lot of pet owners are doing what they think is the best for their pet and they are – but sometimes you need a different view and I am here to help. I am paying attention to the forest for your pet; I see the bigger picture and want to help you and your pet focus on living healthy and happy lives together. I’ll admit that sometimes my view gets narrow and I may need you to help me center my sight but we can work together.

Spend time with your pet, take a little time off from the worries and problems that we all have every day, walk away and relax – see if that can help you get back to the heart of your life. Know that your pet is there to lead you along with path with great love, fun, and single-mindedness. Have fun!