Rehabbing an Injury

After last week got away from me talking about the neural factors in strength performance, I hope to keep it a little bit more brief today.  And what I want to talk about is how I specifically worked to rehab an injury in one of my few trainees.

The long and the short of it is that during a workout, they got all twisted up during a ball game and their limp on the left side indicated that something was injured.   A quick trip to the doctor along with some X-rays determined that, thankfully, it wasn’t an ACL tear.  Rather, the hip joint was injured and no surgery was indicated.

It didn’t appear to be too severe but I was told to bring them back if it wasn’t improving after a number of weeks.  Painkillers were provided to be used as necessary and the trainee used them fairly continuously for the first two weeks simply to facilitate overall daily activity without pain.

The next few weeks were fairly simple, the trainee was kept off the injured leg to as great a degree as possible.  Food was also kept high enough to ensure an optimal situation for tissue healing.  There was some fat gain which is never easily accepted by anyone but it was the price that had to be paid in the short-term.   You need an anabolic state to heal injuries and that means sufficient or a slight excess of calories.  I always shudder when I hear people ask about dieting when injured to avoid fat gain.  Because all it will do is slow healing.  The fat can come off later.

Perhaps the biggest issue was one of simple boredom.  Being on what amounts to chronic bed rest, especially when you’re used to being highly active, can drive the strongest mind crazy.  And with no insult intended, this particular trainee isn’t the sharpest mind to begin with.  I tried to find activities to keep them mentally busy but it was definitely a short-term band-aid situation.  There wasn’t much else that could be done.

After a few weeks, it became clear that the injury was getting better.  This was subjective on my part, observing the trainee’s movements, primarily walking.  Were they protecting the injured side, trying to limit pressure on that leg?  As I saw the trainee get to the point where there was no apparent asymmetry during walking, I decided it was time to gradually bring them back into activity.


Well-Being in Andalusia

Ok, I can’t think of any good topic to ramble on about today and I haven’t talked about dogs for a while so here we go.  One of my site readers, sent me the following and I wanted to make folks aware of it.  Take it away, Shaun.

I know that holidays of this sort are common for folks in overcast England (assuredly the sun exposure helps to raise Vitamin D and make people healthier) and if you’re going to travel you might as well get a double benefit and go have some time with some dogs.

Hi Lyle,

Just got stuck into reading some of your writings on dog rescue and thought you might be interested in reading our story. We’re an English couple in Andalusia, Spain, who currently have 125 rescue dogs in our centre where we volunteer (as well as 5 of our own, who got us started on this crazy shit). Tomorrow 47 of the little blighters are off to Germany and Switzerland to start a new chapter in their lives, hopefully at their forever homes.

We’ve just started a little project of inviting folks down from the cold northern European countries to get some sun, visit the sierra and to help out at the centre (we have zero help from locals unfortunately) in the afternoons in exchange for unbelievably cheap accommodation in our picture perfect village.

Basically folks would have a cracking holiday with transport provided for visiting the surrounding area in the mornings for only 100 euros for the week. It’s our ploy to get some help down here for the dogs because it’s badly needed and we reckon it’s a neat idea to bring both tourism to the area and dog-lovers to pitch in with the centre.

Here’s my blog. The first time I read your Austin Humane Centre stuff was what got me thinking I should be lending a hand myself…and now I find myself really loving what I’m doing to help, so cheers for the info you put out on that.


Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Part 10

Ok, time to finish up.  In Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Part 9, I talked more specifically about what I was doing (or not) during the craziness of last year, primarily focusing on the role NORMAN was playing at home (short version: driving me crazy) as well as being selected to move up to Yellow level.    Which was good in that it gave me the tools to work with NORMAN (and ALFIE) at home.  And bad in that I now had a lot of yellow dogs at the shelter to contend with too (and this was during the time of 2011 when we had a LOT of yellow level dogs).

I would note that I often joked with other volunteers that I often came to the shelter to get a break from my two crazy dogs at home.  Because although there were lots of them and a lot of yellow dogs specifically at the shelter, there was the advantage that, after I worked with them, I could put them back.  Mine, I didn’t have that luxury.  Anyhow, this is probably as good a segue as I’m going to get to talk about yellow dogs in a bit more detail.

Yellow Dogs: Introduction
I briefly described yellow dogs in Part 6 of this series but want to go into more detail here both.  I think if there is a single word I’d use it would be ‘unpredictable’. Because while BB dogs can have multiple issues, they are pretty much consistent on a day to day and minute to minute basis. They have those behaviors and show them all the time.

Sure, they can run quite the gamut (from being just above a blue dot dog all the way to sub-yellow) but they are fairly consistent across the board.  Simply, it’s rare for a BB dog to surprise you after you’ve walked them once or twice.  Usually, with regular training, if anything their bad behaviors go away and they get easier to handle.  Occasionally, BB dogs (especially at the sub-yellow level) will escalate or start worsening and get moved up.  But those are in the minority.

But this tends not to be the case for yellow dogs, especially when they first enter the shelter (our longer term residents are far more consistent).  Rather, yellow dogs can vary day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute.  A dog might be out of it’s mind (with pent up energy) on morning shift and show a host of bad behaviors and perfectly well behaved later in the day.  A dog you’re walking that feels like a blue dog might get a smell and lose it’s ever loving mind out of absolutely nowhere. Everything is fine then you’ll see it stiffen, hunch and start zooming. And this can happen really, really quickly.


Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Part 9

So having talked fairly generally about what was going on at the Austin Humane Shelter during 2012 (with some comments about my involvement) in Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8, I want to switch gears into self-indulgent prattling mode and talk about how it was (or wasn’t) affecting me personally. Some of this will detail my time at the shelter, some of it will tie in with stuff about my own dogs ALFIE and NORMAN, who I have written about in their own article series.

Don’t be surprised if this is a little bit all over the map as I’m jumping back and forth across topics. I wasn’t able to find any good flow for this part of the story; also my system ate what I had initially written so I had to start from scratch (because computers are evil).


Back to Me
As I mentioned in Part 6, I had moved up to full blue BRATT in 2011 and never lacked for anything to do. I forget how many shifts I was doing at the time (currently I am at the shelter without fail three days per week and often do a fourth special event or 1:1 training or something). During the majority of the summer, I had just ground along day to day to day. Like I said earlier, I was a full blue BRATT and that meant focusing my time on the BB dogs which we had plenty and plenty of. Between that and other things to do, I was plenty busy. I was still training and racing (as detailed in other article series), it was pretty standard business.

Then the shit hit the fan starting with the Bastrop Hoarding event. I talked about showing up that Saturday not knowing what to expect and being overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs and the fact that the shelter looked like a dog shanty town. But after that initial reaction, there was nothing to do but to just get it done. Honestly, I kind of like crisis situations, I have a bit of that ‘save the world’ mentality (common to many who pursue health related field or volunteering) and this triggered that.


Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Part 8

So in Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Part 6 and Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter Part: 7, I described the insanity that made up merely the first half (or so) of 2011 there.  That included the Bastrop Hoarding Experience along with a very special dog that had to be put down, along with the loss of our air conditioning in the middle of a brutal Austin summer. And while those three events might have been enough to deal with, it was only the beginning. We still had four months left in the year and things weren’t over yet.  Today I’ll finish describing the rest of the year.


September: Bastrop Burns
Yup, Bastrop again. Because between the drought and the heat and everything else, Austin can become a tinderbox and shit sometimes burst into flames. And there was a really horrible fire out in Bastrop. Like weeks of land burning and people losing their houses kinds of fires.

And there’s a lot of farms and country out in Bastrop. Which means lots and lots of animals. I heard stories of people just letting their horses and cows out of the barns and pastures, just turning them free so they could have a chance to escape. And it happened so fast that people were evacuating their houses with no time to grab anything but the essentials before trying to get away. It was just one of those kinds of things.

A lot of them didn’t have time to get their companion animals (or couldn’t find them). Or those that did couldn’t keep them and dropped them off at the Bastrop shelter. Dogs were found wandering among the fires, burned or with various injuries. And, once again, we took them all in. Something like 155 total animals with 90 or so dogs and the rest cats were rescued and we took in the bulk of them. You can see pictures of some of them here and this video shows some of the animals.