After completing my foundation course in Veterinary Acupuncture, I thought it was the obvious choice for my first patient to be our own dog Ben.
Ben was a 16 year old, long-suffering (from the arrival of three children in the house!) Border Collie, who, like most elderly dogs was suffering from generalised stiffness and weakness of his hind legs. He also seemed more and more depressed; tired of being an old dog and finding anything that he would eat was becoming increasingly difficult.
With Ben being my first patient I wasn’t confident of getting any results but thought I had to start somewhere and wouldn’t it be great if it worked?!
So, armed with my newly acquired needles I set to work. One day after Ben had had two treatments, my husband and I were looking out of the window and saw that Ben had taken himself off for a walk and was right at the top of the field. We both looked at each other – “that’s odd” we said, both of us not quite yet ready to believe the acupuncture might have made a difference. Generally, getting Ben to walk around the field by this point involved a lead and lots of cajoling.
This wasn’t an isolated incident and Ben took to wandering off for little walks more regularly. He also started playing with the children, showing interest in the ball and even moved with a bit of a bounce! His appetite improved and he generally seemed a brighter, more cheery dog. Even my husband who was much more sceptical than I, found it hard to explain the changes in Ben without putting them down to the acupuncture. We both agreed that whilst he was still weak in his back legs (he was a 16 year old Collie after all!) he was much more willing and an altogether happier dog.
Sadly Ben is no longer with us, his kidneys failed him in the end, but I’m glad we made a difference to him, even if only for a short while.