Iris Davidson is expanding her chiropractic practice – she’s adding humans to a mix of clientele that has primarily focused on dogs and horses, with only an occasional spine adjustment for an owner mixed in.
Davidson bought Durango Animal Chiropractor from her mentor, Petra Sullwold, and until two weeks ago, she had operated it as a mobile practice out of her Subaru. But now she’s opened a storefront at 1137 Main Ave.
“I thought I’d be upgrading to a truck next, but I ended up getting a building first,” Davidson said.
An “eyeopener” for Davidson was the results she saw Sullwold get after working with animals while she worked the front desk for Sullwold’s animal chiropractic practice.
“This little dachshund came in paralyzed. After a few treatments with Petra, it was walking. It was amazing, and I thought I could see myself doing this.”
With Sullwold’s encouragement, Davidson completed her study of human chiropractics at Life Chiropractic College West in the Bay Area and soon after completed her study to treat animals with the Animal Chiropractic Education Service in Meridian, Texas.
“The idea was always to move back to Durango,” Davidson said.
Operating her own business initially was intimidating, Davidson said, but now she believes “it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”
She added, “With anyone starting a business, it’s scary and there’s some anxiety about it. But you just trust the passion and it just makes sense that way.”
She plans to be open at the Main Avenue storefront from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays. She will continue seeing animals at Baker’s Bridge Veterinary Clinic on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She also will keep making ranch visits to see horses.
Dogs are typically treated for lameness, stress, disc injuries, strokes, athletic injuries and limping. And a chiropractic session can help older dogs maintain quality of life, Davidson said.
Horses typically are treated after slips and falls and for general lameness. Davidson has a 3-foot by 4-foot Styrofoam block to stand on and give her leverage to treat equines from the lower back to the withers.
Davidson had been seeing five to 10 horses a week and 10 to 15 dogs, and she hopes the storefront visibility on Main adds clients, especially of the two-legged variety.
Kim Grant has been bringing in Oliver, her 6-month-old Bernese mountain dog, who injured his pelvis jumping out of a car in his eagerness to play with children he had met the day before at The Animas Bed and Breakfast at the Wingate House in Silverton.
After the leap, Oliver began limping on his back left leg. Grant said X-rays showed nothing broken in the paw and pelvis, but Oliver kept limping, and the veterinarians had already ruled out hip dysplasia.
Grant said Davidson discovered Oliver had rotated his pelvis in the jump and the discomfort was probably exacerbated by growing pains. After an initial series of once-a-week treatments, Oliver now comes in once a month for maintenance.
“It’s amazing the difference I’ve seen. I feel like he’s totally fine,” Grant said. “At the time, I thought I was going to have a dog that always would have hip problems.”
After his treatment Thursday, Oliver laid down and chilled, which is something Davidson said she sees a lot in dogs.
“With animals, it’s very apparent you’ve made a difference in their system,” she said. “They don’t have a filter. They just live in the moment. They are very pure and they can’t lie.”
Humans, Davidson said, are more complicated, and their ailments can be affected by the stress and worries of daily life that they absorb psychologically. In addition, they can be hurt by repetitive traumas, such as working at a computer all day
“I’m just like living the dream right now,” Davidson said. “I can be with all these amazing animals all day, and the people aren’t bad either. But it’s the animals, that’s where my heart is.”
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