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A chiropractor's best friend

Dr. Tim Saruk's lovable labradoodle makes patients happy


REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - When patients come to Dr. Tim Saruk of Lake Oswego they get much more than chiropractic treatment. They get loved on by Charlie the therapy labradoodle.

Charlie the labradoodle is not licensed to practice chiropractic medicine in the state of Oregon.

However, Charlie could become the face of chiropractic medicine. At least in Lake Oswego.

Charlie is part of Dr. Tim Saruk’s new Hedgehog Strong chiropractic practice at the Trainers Club in Lake Oswego, and he is a dog for all patients. If you don’t like dogs, Charlie will go off in a corner to take a nap. If you like dogs, you can scratch Charlie’s fleecy head. If you love dogs, Charlie can sit on your lap.

“Charlie does everything a therapy dog should do,” Saruk said. “Charlie is a born comforter. He can still be a puppy, but he has the makeup to be calm and soothing.”

Since Charlie is only 1 year old, he figures to form a long and profitable partnership with Dr. Tim. Mainly because Charlie fits in so well with the “wellness culture” at Trainers Club being created by owners Casey and Jenny Lakey. Saruk fits right into their plan, along with the club’s trainers, massage therapist and acupuncturist.

“We always wanted a chiropractor that could fit in here,” said Casey Lakey, who has owned the club for the past 10 years. “I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than Tim.

“The most common complaint is lower back pain, and a chiropractor is uniquely qualified to deal with it. You can age more comfortably if your vertebrae are aligned.”

A fitness center is just the kind of place where Saruk wants to practice. He’s graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in biomedical sciences and from Western States Chiropractic College with his Doctor of Chiropractic. He’s served in clinics in the area. But he was not satisfied treating the same old recurring problems. He wanted his patients to become much healthier.

“In a typical chiropractic office they don’t encourage enough movement,” Saruk said. “It’s very passive.”

Saruk shifted his chiropractic practice to gyms, and he found them much more amenable to the health goals he had for his patients because in gyms patients play a much more active role in improving their health. With the well-rounded program at the Trainers Club, Saruk thinks he is now in the best possible place.

“I’ve elevated my patients’ health goals,” Saruk said. “They’ve maximized what they can do for themselves.”

There was just one more thing Saruk needed to perfect his practice: Charlie. Originally, he acquired the labradoodle from Bedrock Labradoodle in Tualatin as a pet for his son with special needs. Then he started bringing Charlie down to his office once in a while and eventually he noticed something.

“I saw a big growth in my business,” Saruk said. “I wondered ‘Could Charlie be making a difference?’ I found out that in every marketing test a business always goes better with a dog.”

If Charlie could talk, he would say, “Amen.”

“I take a very personal approach with my patients,” Saruk said. “I want to give them a caring, open, comfortable environment. Charlie gives me another way patients can be loved on.”

For more about Hedgehog Strong, go to hedgehogstrong.com or call 503-381-1380. The Trainer Club is located at 333 S. State St. in Lake Oswego.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tim Saruk and Charlie