From Outdoor on GrindTV:
Seems Eddie is 15 years old, geriatric for the species, and suffers from arthritis in the elbows. Veterinarians prescribed regular exercise, and the zookeepers came up with dunking a basketball as the perfect elixir. Eddie caught on quickly.
"He's definitely got game," the zoo's Jenny DeGroot told KPTV. "Sea otters have incredible dexterity, so it makes sense Eddie would have this hidden talent. They're famous for using rocks as tools to crack open clams."
Unfortunately, Eddie's dunking takes place behind the scenes at the zoo, so visitors can't see the Blake Griffin or Terrence Ross of the otter world. But perhaps the zoo will allow Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts a visit to see Eddie dunk; surely he'd be interested.
Kudos to the veterinarian and zoo staff for recognizing the value of exercise for arthritis - wish I could get some of my massage clients who suffer from arthritis symptoms to appreciate this!
About.com encourages exercise for arthritis, too:
If you have arthritis, exercise is essential. For anyone, exercise:
- increases energy levels
- helps develop a better sleep pattern
- helps with weight control
- maintains a healthy heart
- increases bone and muscle strength
- decreases depression and fatigue
- serves to improve self-esteem and self-confidence
Exercise is important for healthy joints. Moving your joints daily helps keep them fully mobile. Strengthening the surrounding muscles helps support the joints. Also, joint movement transports nutrients and waste products to and from the cartilage, the material which protects and cushions the ends of the bones.
The playfulness of otters is inspiring as well as their habit of taking vacations a few times a year. According to the otter keeper at the Oregon Zoo who talked to my daughter's class during a field trip there a few years ago, otters routinely wrap themselves in sea or pond grass and float away from their natural habitat for a few days several times a year.
In addition to an otter's good sense to play and relax, they're also one of the few animals known to use tools.
• As otters are very territorial they tend to live alone. This medicine teaches independence and self-reliance for our needs.
• Otters are very playful and are frequently seen They are often seen floating on their backs with their paws extended out of the water soaking up sunrays, sliding on their bellies playfully, performing water acrobatics or chattering to their neighbors. Their relaxed and happy attitude about life reminds those to whom the otter spirit splashes to laugh and enjoy life to its fullest.
• Otters are curious about everything in their domain. They will touch or sniff every object within sight. No stone, plant, critter or other object will escape the otter's appetite to know, "who or what are you?". This special medicine reminds us to always look at situations, events and people from different angles; to always be open to new challenges.
• Otters are agile and fast in the water. Water is the element of emotional energy in man. Otter spirit teaches us how to swim through problems and emotional upheavals of life with ease.
• Otters are very good parents and nurture their offspring longer than most marine mammals. The relish the company of their neighbors Otter medicine emphasizes nurturing energies within us and the creative and interactive, comforting associations with other beings.
• The otter likes to talk and they are often heard chatting away to anyone or anything within earshot. When frightened their calls take on an eerie piercing sound similar to a baby screaming. They have few natural enemies and are not afraid of humans. If the otter swims into your life the message may be to rid yourself of fret, worry and pain. Enjoy the blessings Creator has provided and follow the otters lead.
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