HISTORY: Gunther joined our family two years ago and remains the best Christmas gift we have ever received. A 5-year-old silver dapple dachshund, Gunther is truly an athletic dog.. a Labrador Retriever in a Dachshund body. His boundless energy and extreme determination have always fascinated us and brought such joy to our lives. Little did we know how much Gunther’s situation would soon take a turn for the worse, On August 28, Gunther suffered a severe spinal injury – a very large and explosive herniated disc that required immediate surgery’ The next morning they operated on little Gunther, but the overall prognosis was not very encouraging. The doctor gave him a 50/50 chance of walking again. Only time would tell.

Words cannot describe the emotions that struck our family during these days… so much sadness, and uncertainty. But we had to be strong for Gunther, We were committed to doing everything possible to get our little guy going again. After numerous phone calls and extensive research, we discovered swim therapy would be one of the key pieces of Gunther’s healing process, We were delighted to find Sheila Wells in West Seattle.

THERAPY: It Our first conversation with Sheila was very encouraging. She made no promises’ She simply explained her philosophy of healing and warm water therapy and encouraged us to maintain a positive attitude. Since Dachshunds are not known as natural swimmers, we were concerned about how Gunther would take to the water. Surprisingly, he quickly adapted to the pool and was soon swimming for full one-hour sessions. After several sessions, he began his back legs and wagging his tail like a rudder’ Sheila’s method includes massage and stimulation of the nerves which encourages the back end to work with the front. After several weeks, Gunth6r began to gain back the muscles in the hindquarters that he had previously lost from muscle atrophy.

It has been 5 months since we began swim therapy with Sheila and the progress has been very encouraging. Gunther can now kick his back legs with little stimulation. On land, he can stand for several minutes and has begun moving his back legs in a stepping motion. Although he is still far from walking, we sincerely believe the water therapy has been instrumental in his healing process. Our experience with Sheila has been nothing but positive and she has truly become a great friend of our family. What’s most encouraging is Sheila’s dedication to helping animals. She truly treats them like her own children.

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