A burly fighting coach has taken on his first fluffy client giving four hours of physio a day – to his SHIH TZU.
Dog-lover and bodybuidler Robert Dawson, 35, has already spent £5,000 on treatment to save his poorly pooch Ben’s life after he suffered a sudden back injury.
And the musuclar sports coach – who runs a business supporting leading MMA fighters – is now putting his own skills to good use by retraining his cuddly friend to walk again.
Robert, who has two other pets, a pug called Rollo, aged two, and a year-old pekinese called Rupert, said the five year old was paralysed from the waist down after a disc in his spine ruptured while he was playing.
With the dog’s life at risk, Robert agreed to an emergency operation at a specialist veterinary hospital in Wellington.
Now after surgery just over a week ago on several discs to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, Ben is back home with Robert at Sampford Peverell, near Tiverton, Devon.
He needs four intensive physiotherapy sessions a day carried out by his owner, who fits them in between his job at a student accommodation company in Exeter and working with sports clients.
The daily physiotherapy routine includes massage to encourage blood circulation, mobility exercise to encourage a full range of movement, stretching, standing and sitting.
He hopes his pet will make a good recovery and eventually be able to walk unaided, but a lot rests on his progress over the next few weeks.
He said: “It is going to be a slow recovery process. I should be able to reduce the physiotherapy sessions, but it very much depends on his progress.
“It’s a big challenge with two other dogs as well, they know something has happened.
“I am giving Ben up to four hours of physiotherapy every single day, it is quite taxing and stressful for all of us.
“It is going to be like this for a few months.”
To pay the £5,000 cost of the surgery and care, Robert used his overdraft and took out extra credit cards and realised he faced a huge struggle to meet repayments.
But now his friends and clients of his firm Mindsport Consulting Ltd have come to his rescue by supporting a fundraising appeal to cover the cost.
A fundraising page at fundly.com and has been posting regular updates on Ben’s progress and has already raised £1,000 towards the £5,000 target.
Robert said: “I didn’t know what I was going to do. The support for the appeal has been amazing. It has renewed my faith in human nature.”
Robert has taken on several charity fundraising projects in recent years, including running 44 half and three full marathons for a children’s charity providing end of life care, and the mental health charity Mind.
This year he has been raising money for Cancer Research with a pledge to lift 50 million lbs with dumbell reps by the end of December.
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