Tessa Concannon


Tessa, a female Australian Shepherd, had great potential for altered conformation and obedience titles. She also loved to hike and run in the woods several times a week for 1-2 hours at a time. However, at 6 1/2 years old, she was a physical mess. Her hips were chronically out of alignment, she had persistent lameness in her front legs, and even doing automatic sits for obedience had become uncomfortable. Her obedience training was at a standstill because she could not practice jumps without coming up lame, and judges in the breed ring repeatedly noted that she did not get the nod due to her slight limp.

Tessa tested positive and was treated for Anaplasmosis. She was still lame. She had 6 months of chiropractic adjustments, but the adjustment wouldn't hold for long, and she still came up lame after running and jumping. Acupuncture was tried for several months. While "Tessa" enjoyed the sessions, she did not show much improvement. 

We got a referral to Susanne from the vet, who was at a loss on what to do next. Our first visit was a revelation. Susanne was the first person to look at Tessa as a whole dog, not just the parts showing lameness. She found tight muscles, atrophy, weakness, knots, swollen spots, arthritis, and a host of small issues that all added up to one very sore dog.

Massage was the first order of treatment with Susanne, but Tessa was leery of it. Tessa enjoys people and food, but laying on a mat and having a (then) strange person run all those sore muscles was not her idea of fun. It took some judo moves and a lot of treats to convince Tessa to accept the massage.

That was over a year ago.

Now, Tessa loves coming to Susanne. She enjoys the massage, and settles quickly on the mat before Susanne is even ready. Tessa even willingly accepts all the loving that Susanne pours on her! Tessa's favorite equipment is the front-to-back rocker. I don't know why she likes it so much, but she leaps onto it before it has even been put flat on the floor. On the other hand, no amount of high-value cookies will ever, ever make her happy about the water treadmill.

Today at 8 1/2 Tessa has an Open Obedience title, and another major win toward her Altered Conformation title. She still needs maintenance p/t (don't we all?). She is much stronger, has far fewer lame days, and keeps up well with the other dogs on the hiking trails. 

With Susanne's care, we hope to keep Tessa comfortable and strong well into middle age and beyond. 

Thank you, Susanne! 

Tessa Concannon
Sharon Concannon - Australian Shepherd