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Rio the Rescue dog: Getting his life back after a Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis diagnosis

Updated: Sep 21, 2018

Article written by Jill Davies, Rio’s loving owner


I was devastated when we received Rio’s Hip Dysplasia and arthritis diagnosis - at that time a bleak prognosis. The thought of not being able to go for a long hike - but more so for Rio - who would have struggled so much with a sedentary lifestyle, it’s just not his personality!! I think the combination of supplements and Animal Reiki Healing have reduced his pain and given him back a great quality of life.

Rio didn’t have a great start in life. He was found, emaciated and tethered in a small back yard, by an off duty police officer in 2012. He was around a year old, and was handed over to the German Shepherd Rescue in Crewe. Rio was very stressed and unhappy in kennels. Luckily, the Rescue managed to find him a foster family where he started to put on weight. After six weeks with the foster family, he was adopted by Jill and her family.




Due to Rio’s early neglect and poor nutrition, it took a while to build up his wasted muscles, but he soon gained his fitness and could walk for miles without any problems.


In January 2017, he went on one of his favourite walks on the beach and this would be a life changing walk. After walking for an hour he started limping, which quickly deteriorated. It would take another hour to get back to the car. By this time, he was struggling to support himself and was in pain. His right hip looked like it was dislocated and his leg was dragging. With the support of a scarf, helping him support some of his weight, we slowly made it back to the car. At home he settled down on his bed, and was very reluctant to move. Every time he tried to stand he cried.


The vet prescribed analgesia and x-rayed his pelvis under general anaesthetic. It wasn’t looking good: hip dysplasia and arthritis was the diagnosis. The vet said it was severe and couldn’t recommend any treatment, except the help of supplements alongside lifelong analgesia. The x-rays were sent for an orthopaedic opinion by a specialist vet, and they agreed that Rio wasn’t a candidate for surgery. I asked about hydrotherapy but the vet didn’t recommend this in Rio’s case.


The advice was to walk Rio three times a day for a 10-minute lead walk. This wasn’t something that came naturally to us, and it was awful to leave Rio behind when we took our other dog, Bailey, out for walks. We followed the vet’s advice and gradually built up his walking.

After four months he had built up to 40 minutes walking time. He was still struggling to stand up from a lying down position, and would whimper when his leg was rubbed with a towel.

I met Pauline Smit at a pet show in Manchester, where she was talking about Canine Reiki Healing. I entered her draw to win a free session, and unbelievably, I won.


I will be honest, I had heard about Animal Reiki Healing, but didn’t know much about it. I was willing to try anything though, to help Rio. I read Pauline’s website and decided to pay for a session for Bailey too, as he has lots of anxieties!



Both my dogs are high energy, exuberant and noisy, I wasn’t sure how it would go, and I was also unsure myself if I actually believed it would work.

If I hadn’t seen the effect with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. Bailey became so relaxed, his whole body was limp and practically wrapped around Pauline! This is a dog that usually never stops barking!

Rio, being a typical Shepherd, was slightly more distant, so he preferred to sit on the rug. He is a natural protector and barks at the slightest sound that may be near his house. You could see him almost trying to fight off the effects, his eyes drooping and becoming heavy, but he got into his bed and went to sleep! This may not sound amazing, but for Rio, when someone new was in his house - he would NEVER have gone to bed!


I booked another session with Pauline, just to see if this had been a fluke!

Since then both Rio and Bailey have a monthly Canine Reiki Healing session. They both get very excited when Pauline comes through the door! I don’t normally let them go to the door when anyone comes to the house, as they can be intimidating, but when Pauline arrives, they both rush to the door wagging their tails.


Rio still stays sat away from Pauline during the session, but always ends up lying down asleep; while Bailey still likes the physical contact, but may move away during the session. I could also fall asleep during the sessions!

After Rio’s most recent Reiki session, he slept for two hours. I have a doggy cam at home, and he doesn’t usually stay in one place for any longer than 20 minutes.



Since starting Animal Reiki Healing sessions, Rio has increased his walking time; he doesn’t limp; he rises more easily from lying down; doesn’t cry when being dried with the towel; and has a general increase in energy, (not always a good thing!!)


The change has been gradual, and initially it was friends remarking on how well Rio was looking, that helped show the difference. We have gradually increased our walking back to how it was, as he can keep up with his friends and even chase a squirrel!



One significant moment that stands out for me, is that prior to Rio being diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis, we used to do a regular three and a half hour walk over Longridge Fell. I never thought we would do this again. Last week I said to my friend, ‘let’s try it, and we will just do half’. We did the whole walk, and then at the end, Rio jumped into the car unaided! Even when we got home, he still wanted to chase his ball in the garden!


I would definitely recommend Pauline Smit Reiki, and especially if you have a dog with Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia. Canine Reiki Healing has helped us get our quality of life back, which we dreaded on loosing due to Rio’s diagnosis. The pain relief and ability to help heal and get stronger is wonderful.
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