We started bringing our dog, Mojo, to AquaDog after a very serious surgery he had. We wanted him to recover as quickly as possible. But we have STAYED with AquaDog ever since because, not only did Mojo quickly recover, he is now a super strong and very vibrant 80lb dog - at 14 1/2 years old!!! AquaDog is certainly the best aqua therapy there is....but Connie brings SO MUCH MORE to every session. From stretching to swimming to amazingly helpful tips and suggestions about the care of dogs - Connie is the BEST. AquaDog has been so amazingly good for Mojo that we now bring his 10 year old brother too! AquaDog will always be part of our dog regimen!
Amy and Mike Donohue
I have worked as a veterinary technician for 24 years. My clinic has referred our clients to Connie Frank for the physical therapy for the last 15 years of the 16 years she has practiced. We have referred various types of patients to her, every thing from post-operative orthopedic and arthritis cases to dogs who have had traumatic spinal injuries. All of my clients have had successful outcomes from her knowledege and experience to physical therapy.
The greatest success story I would like to share with you is my dog Boonie. Boonie is a Golden Retriever who loved to play ball. His usual routine was to walk four miles in the morning and chase his ball for an hour in the evening. As with most athletes, the physical wear and tear caught up with him. He developed Biltateral Biceptial Tenosynovitis, severe arthritis in his front feet from stopping short, Spondylosis in his spine and a fused hock from a previous fracture. At the age of 12, Boonie was barely able to walk through my home. I tried chiropractic and acupuncture with no relief and Boonie could not take NSAIDS due to a liver problem. I turned to Connie.
Connie evaluated him and planned which exercise needed to be done in the pool and at home. Within two months, Boonie was walking and wanting to play again. The continued therapy allowed him to beome stronger and pain free. However, I believe that doing something he loved – swimming – helped him to heal. He looked forward to his PT sessions; actually gettting excited when I would say “It’s a swim day!” He really received the best of both worlds: he still played ball in the water and benefited from Connie working his legs. I know I hate being on the treadmill and I think dogs feel the same way. Why not get the PT while having fun?
Boonie developed a brain tumor at the beginning of this year and his neurologic coordination diminished quickly. The greatest testimony I can give of Connie’s knowledge is that Boonie was in tremendous pain and when he left her pool you could actually see relief in his face. Boonie spent his last day at Connie’s. He went to swim that day barely able to walk into her arms and he left walking out on his own. Later that night he threw a spinal clot and was euthanized. My greatest joy and solace is that he spent his last day with Connie doing what he loved.
I believe that it is not only knowledge of the anatomy or the excersies you pick for each patient. I truly believe that combined with the love and soul Connie puts into her patients is what makes the difference. I have had a great deal of experience with the human medial field and I truly would hate to see veteniary medicine model itself in the same way. I know I do not like being just a number – why would I want that for my dog?
I am forever indebted to Connie for giving me an extra year and half with my Boonie. Her love and compassion for these dogs is the only thing that surpasses her knowledge and skill.
Kathryn E. Taylor, RVT
Buddy had a rough start to his life.
My wife and I were interested in bringing a dog into our family, and we were looking at the Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue Group website. We put our name in for a number of dogs, but they were all adopted by their foster families. Until Buddy. Buddy was the dog no one wanted.
Buddy was purchased from a questionable breeder by a couple who probably should never own a dog. Among other things, Buddy was generally kept in the garage. One day, however, he suffered some trauma to his front left leg. He was taken to a vet, where x-rays were taken. His leg was damaged, but it was treatable. His owners decided to do nothing. As a result, Buddy ended up lame, with a malformed front left leg.
Fortunately for Buddy, his owners decided to give him up to the Rescue Group about 6 months later. His picture and story were posted, and he touched our hearts. We adopted him. At that point, he was 11 months old and the effects from the injury were permanent. He did not use the leg very much; his paw was generally held up off the ground. An orthopedic specialist recommended amputation.
Amputation of a front leg at such an early age is quite serious. Since he did not appear to be in pain, we looked for other solutions. My wife thought water therapy would be beneficial and looked online for places that offered it for dogs. Enter Aquadog. We talked to Connie Frank, owner of Aquadog, over the phone and decided to give it a try.
The very first time Buddy saw the pool, he didn’t know what was going on. His roots as a water dog were not apparent. He had to be picked up and carried in. But once he learned that he could swim after tennis balls, nothing could keep him out. He loves it! It is easily his favorite activity. And very quickly we saw results. The muscles that had atrophied in his shoulder and upper leg were built up again. He started being able to put his weight on his left leg. He started using his leg, just like any other dog.
We were impressed with how Connie worked with Buddy. As a trained therapist, she knew what exercises and movements would benefit Buddy. And Buddy clearly loved Connie and the pool.
Buddy is now 5 years old and is doing fine. He is the most spoiled dog in the world, though I know others might say their dog holds that position. We continue to go to Aquadog, focusing more on maintenance and cardiovascular health. During the time we have been going, we have seen many other pets benefit from water therapy. We unequivocably recommend Connie Frank and Aquadog to any dog owners who feel their pet may benefit from water therapy.
Ron & Cathy Jacob (and Buddy, too!)
Words of thanks cannot ever describe my gratitude to you for the brilliant canine therapy you provided to my beloved dog, Fred. Although Fred came to AquaDog initially to be rehabbed after knee surgery at age 13, he subsequently developed degenerative myelopathy, which impacted his ability to walk. Under your brilliant and patient tutelage, he was able to continue his wonderful life of daily hikes uphill and down with the ability to plant his feet properly, and with an aerobically fit heart. Connie, you gave Fred back his body and some of the best and most happy years of his life. And the doggies love to swim and have fun while getting better! Fred would never have used a treadmill! I believe you can do more for the dogs in the pool than on treadmills, and while I am not any expert on comparisons between the two, I am quite positive that more dogs are going to helped in your pool not only with various movements and exercises that work on all areas of the body, but also because the dogs have fun, and fun is a large part of getting better. I myself saw countless dogs improve immeasurably under your care, and you were always completely professional and responsible, never failing to make the time and effort to address everything your clients and their humans needed. In the two years Fred spent with you at the pool, not only did you fully rehab his knee, teach him how to plant his feet and keep him aerobically fit, you also made him an exceedingly happy 15-year old pup! If only every dog out there could have the same new lease on life! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your irreplaceable work on the behalf of doggies everywhere. AquaDog is a treasure!
It is hard to believe that Sally has been gone a year now, but at age 15, it was her time.
We wanted to let you know how much swim therapy improved Sally’s life, and ours.
When we adopted her at age 8 from the Humane Society as a stray, we didn’t have high expectations for a long life for her. She had no front teeth (top or bottom), chronic ear infections (both ears), and just seemed so sad. But she blossomed when the ear infections were treated successfully. She loved living indoors, eating, and going for walks.
Even when X-rays showed arthritis in her spine, she continued to be a great walker. She would go any distance you wanted, anytime. So when at age 11, she walked to the end of the driveway and just sat down, we thought that was close to the end for her. We were wrong! Dr. Andrea Moore, our veterinarian, added Previcox to the glucosamine she had prescribed. And that helped her get up and out for her walks again. But eventually, it wasn’t enough, so Dr. Moore suggested we start swim therapy with you.
Sally was 13 years old, and she swam like she walked! On and on. We were able to continue ½ mile walks with her for two more years. The warm water and your guided exercise made that possible. It wasn’t until the last 2 months of her life that we could only walk her around the backyard. By then she needed help getting up, too, but in the evening after her swim she could do that on her own.
At then end, while she was in the water, you couldn’t tell she had trouble walking. Not until she was on land again.
Thank you for working with her. Your time and experience gave us another two years with that wonderful old dog.
Ken and Nancy Mednick
I just got back from Scout’s first annual check-up and I wanted to pass on to you the kudos I got from my veterinarian, Dr. Bill Klein of Portola Valley Veterinary Hospital.
As you remember, Scout survived a bout of distemper somewhere in her early life, either while in utero or shortly after being born. She was about 8 weeks old when she was dumped in my neighbor’s car, but even then it was clear something wasn’t right about her: her back legs wobbled, her front legs weaved, and she fell down almost as often as she tried to walk. Hardwood floors, tile floors, linoleum—they all presented a terrible challenge to Scout; she just couldn’t walk on them without falling down. What’s more, she couldn’t fully lift her back paws when she walked (or didn’t know where they were so couldn’t place them correctly) and so managed to wear the middle toenails on either foot down to bloody stubs whenever she walked very far.
It took a long time to get the correct diagnosis for Scout’s condition—distemper just isn’t seen much anymore—which is why I didn’t find you until she was 8 months old. But I’m so glad I did.
After only the first month of swim therapy, Scout showed dramatic improvement in her stability and gait. Today, after almost a year of treatment, she walks smoothly and confidently – in fact, she never falls down anymore, even on slippery floors – and when she shakes off after getting wet, she’s able to catch herself instead of falling. The strength in her back legs has increased, so much so that she’s now able to lift herself up out of a prone position without much effort. And her toenails on her back feet don’t take the beating they used to because she’s able to lift her paws higher when she walks.
At her first annual exam Dr. Klein was flat-out amazed at the progress Scout’s made since April. He said, “My hat’s off to you for everything you’ve done with her. I never thought I’d see her looking so strong and alert.” Scouty really has made a lot of progress and I attribute that to the therapy you give her. She will never be a “normal” dog as the distemper has affected so many parts of her, but she is a much stronger dog today because of all the work you do with her.
Thank you so much for being there for my “special needs” pet. I don’t know what her life would have been like without you.
Lisa B. Stahr