In last week’s blog post, I shared a problem that Cali was having with her legs. She was slipping a lot, and when she walked, her back legs swung way out to the sides.
Cali goes regularly to a chiropractor here in Missoula, and I had asked the chiropractor if she had any ideas. We’d discussed the ACL tear possibility, but we were both skeptical.
The chiropractor uses laser therapy and manual adjustments to help Cali walk better, but … over several months, the problem persisted.
One evening, I was meeting with my Jewish community group planning committee, and we were selecting dates for our next events. A date was suggested and I said that I couldn’t do it that day because I was “taking Cali to Pullman.” All animal-friendly Missoulians know that that means going to the vet school clinic.
“What’s wrong with Cali?!!!” the other committee members asked, in unison.
I explained briefly, and a fellow committee member and friend, a skilled horsewoman and dog person, spoke up. She described a vet / chiropractor who “works miracles” with dogs and horses who have neurological issues, and said that I “must take Cali to see Sid.”
Sid has a colleague who makes his appointments on his visits to Missoula, about once a month. My friend gave me this “fixer’s” phone number. I called the next day. Got a call back a day later. Spoke to one of the nicest people I have yet to meet.
But, she said, I had just missed Sid and he wouldn’t be back in Missoula for a while. “I’ll just give you his number. Maybe you can take Cali to him.”
I called on a Friday afternoon. Sid suggested that I bring Cali by “now.” In Helena, a couple hours’ drive away. I said I couldn’t that day, but did he have time in the next week or so. We settled on Monday.
Long story short, Deni, Cali, and I journeyed to Helena to meet the magical Sid. Sid adjusted Cali’s back, talked to us about nerves firing and communicating — or not firing. Explained that there was a block in her spine preventing proper nerve signals from reaching her legs.
He doesn’t use any tools, just his hands. Though she startled once or twice, Cali sat patiently for her exam, gazing adoringly at Sid.
He showed me how to massage Cali’s thigh muscles and said that she’d start to develop her atrophied leg muscles over time. He then had me walk Cali around a bit, then looked at her gait and examined her again. He thought things were working properly.
The best part was, he did not think there was a tumor or other serious problem, and he thought he’d gotten things working again. We should come back in a few weeks or next time he was in Missoula.
Feeling a little like a character in a spy novel, I did. I wandered around the dusty lot a bit, feeling silly. Soon, though, I saw a Forester pull in with Sid at the wheel, followed by a truck pulling a large horse van.
I was in the right place.
Cali was delighted to see Sid, bouncing and squealing.
Sid said that Cali seemed a little better; he made some more adjustments, and watched her walk a bit. He was satisfied. Cali was love-struck.
He explained that I would see very slow progress, as some of her leg muscles were severely atrophied and needed to develop strength. He added that I should come back to see him in a few months.
I rescheduled the Pullman visit so that I could see if there was any progress, and I waited. And walked Cali. A lot. I took her swimming several times, too.
We’ve been back to see Sid once more, in the same dusty lot. We do both see improvement. She’s still slipping on the floor, but less often. Her gait is a lot better; I only see the legs arcing out when Cali is tired. She’s also more playful and eager to walk, hike, or dance around the house.
I’ve still got that Pullman visit coming up, though. I still want the neurologist to examine Cali. I guess I am hoping for confirmation that there’s nothing wrong with Cali.