Yogi's Story

Mid 2018 our beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog Yogi Bear did the smallest of movements hopping out of our back door for his favourite kong and suddenly had a startled look which he then went on to deteriorate over the next 24 hours. He progressively lost all movement in his limbs and could only move his head. He was a 65kg big boy so this was terrifying and hard to understand considering no ‘incident’ had occurred. It was soon apparent that he was beyond regular vet intervention and thanks to our quick acting regular Vet at applecross vets was referred to Dr Neil at Rivergum referral practice. 

Xrays showed a herniated disc around the C7 area and surgery was needed ASAP to regain as much movement as possible. 

The surgery was 4 hours long with no guarantee that he would be able to walk again, he stayed with Dr Neil for 10days for close monitoring until he started to show progress. 

Recovery was to be taken very slow and was confined to a small area for weeks after only allowed to move for toilet breaks. 

When Yogi was able to support himself and got clearance for a 5minute only walk it was clear we would need help building his strength back and co coordination. He had no balance and when walking would scrape his toes and they would bleed as he couldn’t pick his legs up yet. He had a long recovery ahead and we needed expert help with his recovery. 


Carmel was highly recommended us to Dr Neil and specified when he could start rehab for best results. My first phone call with Carmel was the biggest relief I basically rang in a desperate state I felt so bad for my big fluffy boy, but she knew exactly where he was up to and was such a support for a dog mum in despair. We saw Carmel weekly at a crucial time in his recovery to keep gaining more strength and feeling to all his limbs. She helped explain the surgery he had been through in more detail and what he would be experiencing and feeling in such a knowledgeable compassionate way which was invaluable having it explained simply.  

She used various techniques each time as to how he was feeling, she would help relax his muscles and check his scar tissue and measure how much strength he was improving by. Yogi LOVED his sessions, what a pampered boy.  

Each time at our check up with surgeon Dr Neil, he was amazed at his progress and was in line with exactly where he should be, each appointment was progress with no complications which is a surprise for such a big dog and huge surgery. I explained what Carmel had been doing for Yogi and he commented that he was not surprised that is why he has gone from strength to strength. He credits our positive recovery with the help we have received from Carmel. 

Carmel and everyone at Active Pet Rehabilitation was invaluable to us and we cannot thank them enough for their care at our toughest time. Yogi is now like a puppy again not even 12 months later, he walks, runs and I think he will be just about ready to get back on his paddle board :)  

We hope this helps anyone who feels helpless seeing their pet in pain or recovering from surgery that there is always hope and someone to help you on your own journey.  

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