Advanced Physical Therapy CT August 2019




July and August are sometimes referred to as the dog days of summer, so I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce you to my dog, Charlie: the very unofficial mascot of Advanced Physical Therapy Terryville. If you were lucky enough to have had an appointment on national Take Your Dog to Work Day, then you might have already met him in the office. He loves to say hello to all of our patients and bask in the glory of scratches and pats. My wife, Melanie, and I have had Charlie since he was a puppy, but now he’s a dapper senior puggle (pug/beagle mix) who brings joy to everyone he meets. When Melanie and I were first married, we started our little family with Charlie because we figured having a dog would be a good way to test the waters before we had kids. Since then, he’s been with us through the highs and lows, including years on the road when Melanie and I were doing traveling physical therapy. We like to joke that he’s been to more national parks and monuments than most humans, but really, it’s probably true — I’ve got shots of Charlie at the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more to prove it.

to help us with that, too. When Melanie was pregnant with our oldest son, Jack, we even went so far as to test out our swaddling technique on him. We’d lay him down on the bed and try to wrap him in a blanket, just like you’re supposed to do with an infant. Our thought was that if we could swaddle a dog, we could definitely swaddle a baby! Luckily, Charlie didn’t mind too much, and we were swaddling experts by the time Jack arrived. Having Charlie also helped us prepare for the challenges kids bring. Like 2-year-olds, dogs require near-constant supervision. We couldn’t take off on a whim anymore after getting Charlie, and he showed us how scary and exciting it can be to care for a life that’s not your own. Now that sense of responsibility is magnified with our three children: 9-year-old Jack, 8-year- old Meredith, and 5-year-old Ben. I also learned the hard way that you can never let your guard down as a pet owner (or as a parent). Once, before our kids were born, my mom called when I was getting home with Charlie. Chatting with her on the phone, I strolled into our fenced back yard and dropped Charlie’s leash, thinking he’d be fine to wander in the enclosed space while I talked. Oh, how wrong

I was. Within minutes, Charlie had caught the loop of his leash on the leg of our fire pit. When he took off running a moment later, the firepit came too. It must have looked like the thing was chasing him, because Charlie went absolutely nuts, dragging it back and forth across the yard. The total destruction was as hilarious to watch as it was awful to clean up. Charlie was fine, but that’s the day I learned that with both pets and kids, no situation is as simple as you think. That said, life with a pup is full of upsides. They set a lot of good examples for us humans, like offering unconditional love without judgment and living each day to the fullest. When I brought Charlie in to work, I was reminded of just how much five minutes with a dog can improve a person’s day, even when they’re in pain or recovering from an injury. I hope that the next time Charlie joins me at Advanced Physical Therapy Terryville, you’re there to say hello. And if you’ve got a pup at home, give them a hug tonight — The dog days of summer are the perfect excuse.

After we settled down and decided we were ready for kids, Charlie was there

Have You Heard? UnitedHealthcare is waving out-of-pocket costs for patients with low back pain for the first three visits. Call us today at 860-506-4124 to learn more!

–Jarred Parker

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