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Meet Rufus

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

Rufus accompanies me on all my calls. He came to me as a leaving gift from a workplace in 2019. I like having him swinging there as I drive through the Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire countryside as he is a great reminder of the reason I love practising acupuncture.

Rufus was a mature Birman gentleman who had a mysterious neurological disease which caused weakness in his hindlimbs and urine retention due to a lack of nerve impulses from his spine to his hindlimbs and bladder. Fancy imaging such as CT and MRI had not revealed a cause and so his devoted owner was left to manage him as well as she could. He did not seem in pain and enjoyed his daily totters in the garden on a harness, his appetite was good and he was still enjoying interactions with his owners and the other cats in the house.

So what to do? Rufus' owner sought me out to try acupuncture to help him. I detected some muscular pain and tension in his back and forelimbs as a result of them having to do the bulk of the work in lifting and moving his substantial frame, so it was an easy job to treat these areas to relieve the pain and stiffness building up. I treated some of the nerve pathways in his spine and hindlimbs in an attempt to reactivate the dulled nerve impulses that were not getting through.

At times we really saw some improvements and he would saunter confidently around my consulting room showing me what he could do. At other times he seemed to relapse. There was certainly no miracle cure for him (unlike Frieda the rabbit - see my other blog post from October 2021).

But in the months that he visited I gained a rapport with Rufus' owner that is just very difficult in this day and age of staff shortages, 10-15 minute appointments under pressure. We talked about things other than Rufus, but mainly about his weekly adventures (he hated the baths he needed due to his frequent urine accidents! and his love/hate interactions with the other felines in the house. I really looked forward to his visits. I knew I was supporting not only Rufus' wellbeing but that of his owner - as anyone who is a carer will know, looking after a chronically ill family member (human or furry) carries a burden, financial, practical and emotional. If you can talk to someone about these concerns, it can help a lot.

When I left the practice to relocate, Rufus's owner gave me a lovely card and a mini Rufus to remember him by. I have since heard that he has sadly passed away but his spirit remains in my windscreen to remind me why I love what I do!

Rest in peace Rufus.

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