Physical Therapy Doctor - July 2018


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JULY 2018



G rowing up, I always wanted a dog. Having a furry best friend to raise and play with seemed so magical to me. Unfortunately, my parents drew a hard line: no pets. No matter how much my brother and I pleaded, they remained stalwart. I couldn’t wait to grow up and move out so I could finally have a dog of my own.

the office and his house, continually finding excuses to leave and check on the dog every 30 minutes or so. But it was all worth it to see the kids’ faces when they found Hero under the tree the next morning.

“A little masked puppy stepped into our lives and melted our hearts.”

Now Hero’s part of the family. The kids adore him and claim that his superpower is the fact that no one can

resist petting him. There’s a lot of truth to this. My wife, who still maintains that she would have preferred not to get a dog, nevertheless plays with Hero more than anyone else in the household, which is saying something! Even more magically, Hero managed to work his charms on my parents! Due to our busy lives and their proximity to us, my parents have become regular dogsitters for Hero, and boy do they adore him. If I didn’t come by in person to pick Hero up, I have a feeling they would never return him! Whenever I give my parents a call, the first question they ask isn’t about how I’m doing; it’s about the dog and when they might see him again. This incredible 180 shift is 100-percent Hero’s doing. Because of his heritage, he has both the playfulness of a Maltese and the intelligence of a poodle. He is very good at reading when people are in the mood to play and even better at winning them over when they find themselves on the fence. Hero’s favorite thing to do while at my parents’ house is to incite a chase by stealing the tissue my father carries in his pocket. The pocket is at eye level with the dog, and if just a corner of that tissue is poking out, Hero will have nabbed it in a heartbeat and be on his way around the living room. It’s quite a sight to see my parents trying to catch their breath while chasing this little dog around their house, laughing hysterically all the while. He keeps them in great shape and in a great mood. It’s become clear that Hero is a very special dog, able to win over even the most ardent naysayers when it comes to canines. Sometimes I bring him around the office, and he’s brought a lot of joy to our patients. We’re all lucky to have such an intelligent, charismatic dog. Hero’s ability to lighten everyone’s day truly is a superpower.

But as I learned, adult life is more … well, complicated. As much as I wanted to get a big dog, like a boxer, I was also looking to live in Manhattan at the time. I realized I didn’t want a four-legged roommate taking up half the apartment, especially one who couldn’t pay rent. For a time, I put my childhood dream of raising a dog on hold while I built my life as a physical therapist. Then I had kids of my own, and as they grew, my old dream came rushing back. I wanted to give my boys the experience I couldn’t have when I was their age: a dog to be their best friend. My wife was not on board with the idea and sounded a lot like my parents back in the day. Nevertheless, a little masked puppy stepped into our lives and melted our hearts. It all started five years ago in October, when my kids were taking art lessons conveniently close to a pet store. I’d come pick them up, and we’d walk over to play with the puppies the store had on offer. Among all the pets, there was this one little Maltipoo (half-Maltese and half-poodle) that my youngest son Matthew absolutely adored. A black spot of fur grew around its little eyes, giving the appearance of a superhero mask. My kids didn’t know it at the time, but “Hero” would soon be coming home with us! I arranged to pick up Hero on Christmas Eve, and I drove him straight from the pet store to my office. I needed to keep the little guy there overnight to surprise the boys on Christmas morning. Poor Hero was shaking very badly; being taken by a stranger to somewhere he’d never been was nerve-wracking. In fact, the nerves were so bad, he vomited a little on my feet. Understandably, I was terrified. I had the dog I’d always wanted but had no idea how to take care of him. To make matters worse, we were spending the holidays with my brother-in-law, meaning I had to drive back and forth between

–Dr. Robert Morea 718.747.2019 ▪ THEPTDOCTOR.COM ▪ 1

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