The Old Trainer: Looking for a dog? Ask a shelter

March 8, 2013 

Dear Old Trainer: My husband and I are senior citizens and love dogs. Reading your columns has convinced us to get one. We aren't too active think a small dog will be best, but we want your advice.

-- Jan, Manteca

A: That's wonderful news, Jan. Every senior citizen should have the love of a dog in their life.

Here's what I suggest:

Get an adult dog. That way you know the energy level and personality.

Go to your local shelter and tell them what you are looking for.

They know their dogs and know which size and energy level will fit you best.

Spend time with the dogs they recommend. One of them will fall in love and refuse to let you leave. That's the dog for you.

Dear Old Trainer: Easy, my 7-year-old golden, is showing signs of early onset of hip dysphasia. My vet suggested surgery, but admits that even if Easy has it, he will never be 100 percent. Have your dogs had this and how did you deal with it?

-- Howard, Brisbane

A: Yes, one of my dogs, Dixie, my golden- border collie mix, did have a problem with dysplasia, Howard, and I am happy to tell you there is a new solution that is superior to surgery.

Stem cell therapy has shown excellent results in the treatment of both hip dysplasia and arthritis. This is not "Star Wars." The procedure is being used right now and every vet can learn to do it in a few hours.

It is an easy process for both dog and owner. The vet draws the tissue he needs in a few minutes and the pet goes home with you. Your vet overnights the tissue to the processing center, they do the stem cell work and overnight it back. It takes a few minutes for the vet to inject the stem cell matter into your pet, and that's that.

Vets who use it estimate it to be successful in 90 percent of hip dysplasia and arthritis cases. It took Dixie about a month for total recovery, but she was chasing her beloved tennis ball as soon as we got home.

The treatment is expensive, usually $1,000 or more, but is steadily coming down as more vets become accredited. My vet uses Vet-Stem in California for the stem cell processing, but there are other labs doing the same work.

If your vet is interested in becoming accredited show him the notice posted below. If he is not, check with other vets in your area to see if any use the procedure. If you don't locate one, drop me an email and I will contact Vet-Stem and find one close to Brisbane for you.

Notice to vets:

If you are interested in becoming certified to use the stem cell procedure, contact Vet-Stem, complete the three-hour credentialing course via the Vet-Stem website, and become credentialed at

Jack Haskins writes as The Old Trainer. Send questions to

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service