Who would have thought that mushroom hunting would be the perfect dog therapy activity?!
We went mushroom hunting on our “staycation”. We took about a week and a half off, that’s why no blog last week. We found a bunch of morel mushrooms (wikipedia link to these trippy looking mushrooms). But, the greatest part to me was how perfect it was for my dog’s knee recovery.
We wandered through the forest (soft ground) over bushes and logs (uneven ground) at a pretty sedate pace and when we found a mushroom, she sat (more sit/stands) and we were sidehilling. All of those things were recommended by my holistic vet and to find one activity that does them all was great! One of our mushroom hunting trips lasted 1 hour and 47 minutes and Darcy was definitely tired, but still raring to go the next day. She didn’t really limp, but got up after her nap kind of stiff, but as she moved she got better. She got to smell all the squirrel smells, get her exercise and we got yummy mushrooms for dinner! I only did her dog therapy exercises in the morning on these mushroom hunting expedition days. We went out four times and the other days just on our normal 45-60 minute walks with three rounds of dog therapy exercises. We gave her a day off every three days just in case.
We also did a lot of yard work and kept her in the backyard with us off leash. We don’t take her in the backyard on leash anymore at all, but haven’t left her out there by herself yet.
She seems so much stronger after all those long mushroom hunting walks. She has more energy and doesn’t seem to get as tired as fast on a normal day so I believe she is building up her stamina and strength.
We have an appointment next week with the holistic vet for another follow-up visit. Our dog rehabilitation expert was the person who answered the phone and when I told her about the mushroom hunting trips, she was so excited! She is going to put together some harder exercises for our dog therapy program. They will do some muscle measurements as well to see if her back legs are getting closer in muscle mass.
So, all in all, it was a fun time for the dog and for us. And, going mushroom hunting is addicting. We sometimes go off path to see what we can find even when we’re on our regular romps. We talked about how far she has come and how worthwhile it was for us to choose the conservative management route. It’s a lot of work, but when your dog is walking around without a limp, scars and/or possible surgery complications, it really makes it worth it!
Do you have any questions about our conservative therapy treatment? If so, leave a comment below.