The vet was right. Swimming HAS helped Toby. When he was examined two weeks ago, she said his knee was no worse (it will never get better without expensive surgery) and the muscle tone in both hind legs are equal. Keep doing everything you are doing.
But our swimming jaunts would last about ten minutes or so before Toby would pull out as if to say, Enough; can’t do THAT any more. He would also swallow a lot of water and spend a good deal of time and effort hacking it up. Our canine aqua therapy visits might be more effective if they lasted a little longer, I thought, so to make swimming less cumbersome for his weak hind end, I bought him a PSD (personal safety device) aka life vest. This past weekend, Toby had the opportunity to wear his new vest on its maiden voyage on a clear lake in Rhode Island, home to my soul mate friend and high on my list of favorite places to be. Toby’s too.
Toby thought it weird that a retriever mix with webbed feet should be wearing a swim vest but forgot about potential embarrassment when his best girl, Emily, my friend’s remarkable Black Lab & five year therapy dog veteran, glided into the water. Toby roared in after her and between the two of them, retrieved several dozen throws of luminescent green tennis balls. Toby swam for 20 minutes the first day, 35 the next, and 30 the next.
He even made a new friend in the process.