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We had been thinking about getting another Golden Retriever for quite some time as our 9yr girl "Kimba" was starting to become very inactive in her later years.

Our decision to search for another rescue dog didn't go well due to lack of availability of Golden Retrievers, so we came across Puppy Palace Enoggera in which was the only place that was selling them at the time although it was not our ideal choice, we were very excited to get the chance to add to our Goldie clan.

After a rather difficult decision choosing just one pup out of 6, eventually we decided on a cream little pup 8 week old in which we eventually named "Bear".

On the 26th March 2014 at 6 months, Bear had an accident while both of us were at work. A neighbour heard a dog's loud yelp and rang the Ipswich Council they dispatched the pound to investigate a possible injured dog in the area.

We were contacted that Bear had an accident falling from a height of approx 3 metres from our verandah. Bear was taken to the RSPCA at Wacol for pain reliefand then was transferred to our vet at Brassall. After x-rays they could not determined the extent of his injuries due to the recent rain coated Bears fur with a thick layer of mud distorting the x-ray images. His condition was stiff legs and was unable to move, we drove him to the University of Gatton where he had a CT scan and it was determined that he had fractured his spine.

The surgery consisted of a plate being inserted and it was determine that he did not severe his spinal cord but after 48 hrs post surgery there was no deep pain sensation in his back and hind legs. We opted to do further surgery encase there was something that was missed, unfortunately the surgeon was unable to find anything wrong and a further 48 hrs later we still did not have a positive result in his use of his hind legs and it was determined that he would not walk again and was advised to put him sleep. We were not ready to give up on him yet and kept Bear in ICU for 2 weeks thinking that this was the best place for him at the time with a lot of professional people caring for him; he was spoilt rotten from constant visits from surgeons, nurses, students and family.

Even though he was paralysed his demeanour was always happy and he was never stressed by his situation on consultation with the surgeon, we decided to take him home for initially a period of one month to see if there was any improvement.

On Saturday 1th April, the day I took him home his surgeon noticed that while walking him in a sling that he was putting his left hind foot down and pushing a little with it, medically he shouldn't be able to do that. I was given training on how to express his bladder to ensure that he did not get a bladder infection and taking time off work so I could initially give him the 24hr care he needed.

We had weekly consults with his surgeon and decided whatever treatment that could potentially benefit him we did which included acupuncture and hydrotherapy sessions, on advice to get him swimming we came across The Links Dog Aquatic Centre and started swimming on the 29th May.

Over the last 4 months, he now moves both hind legs while he scurries across the floor, stepping with both legs while in a belly harness, flips himself on either side, crouches a small distance from the floor and tail wagging.

On the 11th July we bought Bear an adjustable cart to give him more independence and mobility, at 31kgs our backs were starting to become constantly sore from lifting his rear end in a belly harness.

Although the veterinary surgeon professional opinion is that Bear is never likely to walk again, he has become a constant medical mystery at the things he has been able to achieve to date and we will keep his rehabilitation up to ensure that he has the best quality of life that we can provide him with or without the full use of his back legs.

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Links shakespeare and owner

Shakespeare was born on 17 March 2013 at Toogoolawah. Since the day he joined our family, he's been this confident, outgoing and happy companion. He is actually the star of the dog park and the best friend of all the kids in our street.

Shakespeare is also well known at our regular vet. Unfortunately, the vet has become his second home.

Shakespeare is allergic to pretty much everything and up until recently, we discovered that he has hip dysplasia and we had to limit his exercise considerably. We were told that swimming and hydrotherapy would be the most suitable option to keep him fit and build up muscle.

We were extremely lucky to find The Links as Sean and his team have been brilliant at teaching and guiding us on how to manage his condition. Since the first day we took Shakespeare for his hydrotherapy session, Sean has always been there to provide advice and encouragement, all with the most positive and friendly attitude.

After just a few sessions, we must say that we've seen visible results. Shakespeare has gained mobility in his hind legs, he is less sore and he is coping much better with his daily workouts. He has even lost some weight!

Shakespeare is family to us in every single way. This year has been particularly hard for us, and having our family away has been even harder; however, Shakespeare has been there for us with his happy heart and his wagging tail, so we are committed to him and we will make sure he has the life he deserves, and people like Sean will help us to achieve this goal.

Diana, Carlos & Shakespeare

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In conjunction with UQ, The Links Pet Centre has had the pleasure of welcoming over 100 Japanese Students in October and November for the past 7 years.

Each year, the Links Team has demonstrated assisted swim sessions, treadmill sessions and basic dog handling techniques, as well as a guided tour through our facilities. The students that visit consist of future Veterinary Nurses, Veterinarians, Dog Trainers and Animal Attendants. Over the past 7 years, Sean has had the pleasure of sharing his 'tricks of the trade' with these students, who were all eager to learn about the world of Canine Hydrotherapy and Dog Handling.


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One morning early this year, I noticed that Stanley was limping slightly. By the afternoon he seemed to be walking fine again so I didn't think too much of it. But then the same thing happened the following day...he was limping in the morning and ok in the afternoon.

On the third morning he was walking with his back left leg held up so I made him an appointment to see his current vet.
After an initial consultation and examining his hip, x-rays were recommended. When his x-ray results came back I was shocked to find that Stanley had osteoarthritis in his left hip joint.

The vet explained that due to a shallow left hip socket, there had been degenerative changes in the left hip joint. These changes included the flattening of the head of the femur and the formation of osteophytes around the edge of the hip joint. The cartilage in the joint had been worn away and it was now bone rubbing on bone.

A plan was developed for Stanley which included the use of natural anti-inflammatories and monthly cartrophen injections to try to improve the health of the hip. Low impact activity only was recommended as to not cause unnecessary stress and pain in the joint.

Our vet also recommended that I take Stanley to The Links Canine Aquatic Centre for hydrotherapy in their heated pool. The benefits of hydrotherapy for Stanley are to maintain his muscle mass around the hip to improve and maintain strength and reduce the dependence on the joint.

It was further explained to me that, as the condition had been developing for some time, Stanley had not been walking on that leg as he normally would have. This had caused the shortening of the muscles in his leg. Swimming in a heated pool helps to relax the muscles, takes the weight off the joint and encourages a full range of motion. He is also given a daily heat pack and hip massage.

I was a bit nervous when I bought Stanley to the pool for his first swim. Although I had taken him to the beach and the river on occasion, he much preferred running in the shallows to swimming. He also needed to walk in and out of the pool via the stairs and as he has never lived in a house with stairs, this was also new to him.

However, I need not have worried! When we arrived, Sean explained how he was going to introduce Stanley to swimming. He was fitted with a buoyancy vest and Sean got into the pool with him to teach him how to enter and exit the pool calmly and safely and swim laps. This did take some practice as Stanley was definitely not a fan of the stairs! By his third visit, Stanley no longer needed his buoyancy vest and was in and out of the pool on his own.

An added benefit of hydrotherapy for us is that Stanley can use up his excess energy without jeopardising his hip. At just 4 years of age and being a working breed, it has been difficult to put him on a low impact regime. Before we discovered his osteoarthritis, Stanley enjoyed daily runs, games of fetch, and his all-time favourite – weekly agility classes. Long walks just weren't cutting it for him, so it is great to be able to take him swimming. He will often doze off in the car on the way home!

Sean is very friendly and professional and will often pop in to check on Stanley's progress. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend The Links Canine Aquatic Centre.


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Budha is a five year old yellow Labrador. His name, Budha truly reflects his vibrant and crazy nature. Budha was named after the Hindu word for the planet Mercury, and anybody who has known or owned a labrador will understand why we named him after such a spirited and dynamic object.

Unfortunately, at a very young age Budha was diagnosed with severe hip Dysplasia.

My husband and I were quite distraught at our local Veterinarians prognosis and opted to consult a specialist in the field who was much more optimistic and suggested physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Budha's physiotherapist suggested we try The Links and since then, Budha has never been stronger and happier.

Budha swims three times a week at The Links pool and completes 20 laps. Sean and the staff at The Links are some of Budha's favourite people and have been over the last four and a half years. Because of his swimming, he has developed very strong muscles around his hips and now has virtually no problems with his condition.

Budha is definitely part of our family, and, having no human children, Vinnie and I consider our animals as a very important part of our lives. Our friends and family tell us all the time that Budha and the others are very spoilt and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Budha likes to spend his days napping, sitting with me while I study and playing outside with his much loved stuffed toys. We are hoping that our Budha is with us for many years to come and we also hope to be taking him to The Links for many years to come.


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