03 Jul

Welcome to Canine Therapies Blog

Hello, and welcome to our new blog, “Canine Therapies”. My name is Anne Johnson and I have owned a dedicated pool for swimming dogs since 1992. Canine Therapies is based in Preston, Lancashire, I had the pool built after one of my own dogs ruptured his cruciate ligament. I was in the fortunate position of having an out-building large enough for my new venture, and back in those days it was almost impossible to find a dog pool suiting the needs of a fairly large injured animal.

When I had the pool built its design was rather rushed because the company who should have been building it let me down. I had to find another company really quickly who could stop the walls around a rather large hole in the ground from collapsing inwards. Consequently I could have probably filled the hole with all the pound coins it has cost over the years to modify and improve the pool to the standard it is today. However, it works for me, and it works for a lot of dogs. But for anyone starting their own business I can advise them about how not to waste money, but get things right from the beginning.

I will be the main person writing this blog because the others in my team do more of the practical work nowadays, so they don’t get time to sit at the computer! The photo on the left is of me with one of my labradors on dry land!

I have a family of Labradors of various ages and I have always supported Labrador Rescue organisations, both by fund-raising and also in practical ways by offering therapeutic treatments for some of the rescued dogs in need. Apart

Anne Johnson - Owner Canine Therapies
Anne Johnson - Owner Canine Therapies

from the dogs who live here at Teazledown with me I have joint ownership of my sister’s dogs. We think that having joint responsibility gives the dogs added protection and security, should either of us become unable to look after them, for whatever reason. So in theory I own about 15 dogs! Both my nieces have dogs too – Charlotte has Italian Spinone (co-owned with her Dad, Richard) and Jo has Bichon Frise; we are all involved in showing, agility, training, and other dog-related things.

My original training was as a specialist PE teacher for ages 5 -19 and my particular interests (and highest grades!) were in swimming, mechanics of movement, and in physiology and anatomy. In fact my second teaching subject was biology, so it was a good combination of subject interests.

I started showing my first Labrador in 1981 and success in the show ring led to an interest in judging. It was fascinating to start analysing the gait of dogs, because I had been recognising that of humans for 10 years! I still identify people who may be too far away to recognise by the way they walk, or their posture, and it is the same with dogs! Still wanting to further my knowledge I took an Open University degree, and although almost all the modules were in the area of science I was still awarded a B.A. rather then a BSc. because at the time it was all the O.U. offered.

A few years ago I saw an interesting advert for learning about Canine Massage, so I took all 3 modules of the course and came out with a Diploma in Canine Massage (Distinction). Again, it was initially for the benefit of my own dogs but it has gradually become an integral part of the therapies we can do here at Canine Therapies, and is of huge benefit when we can use underwater for those dogs who may not swim for reasons relating to the condition we are treating.

Various like-minded friends have helped with the dogs for quite a while but I took on additional staff when it became clear I could not manage the pool on my own, and their enthusiasm encouraged to further my own training (and theirs) by pursuing courses about various conditions which we were being asked to treat in greater numbers. We now have 3 fully trained hydrotherapists who have additional skills to complement our work.

Ruth Tomlinson - Hydrotherapist
Ruth Tomlinson - Hydrotherapist

About Ruth Tomlinson

When my Labrador, Jac, was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia at the age of 7 months, we decided to treat him conservatively and try to alleviate the symptoms as much as we could by bringing him swimming to Canine Therapies. I was in the middle of my studies at that time, reading Zoology at the University of St Andrews, and so had to trust Mum to take him. I made sure I kept a close eye on his treatment, however, because I was also working at a veterinary practice during my holidays and was having lots of input from both the orthopaedic vet and the Head Nurse who brings her own dogs to Canine Therapies.

During the final year of my university studies I had been unsure about which career to follow – Vet Nurse, Teacher, or Research Scientist, but having had some fantastic experiences at the vet practice this was the route I chose to take.  I am very excited about starting my Nurse Training later this year!

I completed my degree in 2010, and, whilst enjoying the change from University life to working full time at the vets, I did begin to miss my academic studies. Having worked with my own dog at Canine Therapies, I was invited to gain additional experience by helping with dogs that required more than one hydrotherapist.  After a few months I got the chance to go on a 10 day intensive training course in order to qualify as a Registered Canine Hydrotherapist.

In my role as a veterinary nurse I run evening courses for clients on Basic First Aid, as well as Puppy and Weight Loss Clinics. I have qualified with Hills as a Nutritional Advisor, and also hold the C-SQP which allows me to dispense certain veterinary medications at the vet practice. I work closely with a vet specialising in orthopaedic work and so if hydrotherapy is recommended I can be the person who works in the pool with their dog. This is a great way of linking the veterinary treatment with the work done at Canine Therapies.  It also means that I am able to keep a close eye on the patients’ progress, and ensure the notes are kept updated on the veterinary record as well as at Canine Therapies. I think it is an excellent example of good practice, and it gives our clients the confidence that we are offering the best possible treatment by working with different animal professionals.

About Jo Frodsham

I have loved animals, especially dogs for as long as I can remember. I share my life with Shawn a Samoyed who are renowned for incredible pulling strength and love of the outdoors.  We enjoy taking part in CaniX which is cross country running with your dog, agility and lots of walking.

In September 2011 I Will be starting my second year of a three year foundation degree in Canine Behaviour and Welfare at Myerscough College. During my first year I was required to participate in a work placement which I was lucky enough to do at Canine Therapies.

I was so lucky to have this placement as the people at Canine Therapies are true professionals and really nice and caring people and would always go out of their way to share their knowledge and experience with me.

As I got close to the end of my work placement I was getting a little sad about leaving as I enjoyed everything about working there, it was my dream job to help dogs, especially the ones that needed extra support. Anne generously asked me if I would like to continue helping her and her therapists which I was only too keen to accept.

Why we started this blog

Running a canine hydrotherapy pool must be one of the best jobs in the world! Every day we can talk about dogs, get injured or post-operative dogs back to full fitness much more quickly than otherwise, help owners to understand their dogs’ needs, translate “vet-speak” into a language owners can understand, and get fantastic feedback from our clients and the dogs themselves! Over the years many of our clients have become friends because we spend so much time trying to give a high quality service whilst recognising that the needs and happiness of their dog is paramount to their own happiness!

When I watch the news I am all too aware that we live in a world of doom and gloom; here at Canine Therapies we share excitement and hope on a daily basis, and have fantastic feedback from the owners we are so privileged to meet. Of course it is unrealistic to say that every dog who comes here has a wonderful time, and has a fairy-tale outcome, but even the owners of these dogs still recognise the effort we make in helping the dogs to feel more comfortable, and are incredibly appreciative of the quality and value of our services.

Sometimes I am contacted by people who have lost their dog, or are no longer able to manage a companion pet. Those who have spent time with us here in the past can continue to share the pleasure of other owners whose dogs have had benefitted so much from the use of our pool, by reading our blog posts and about the dogs we are currently treating. It might make them shed a tear when they read words that they themselves might have uttered, knowing that we are striving to show the same care to someone else’s beloved pet as was shown to theirs.

What we are blogging about

We want to share some of our current “dog stories” with you, and we can do exactly that if you follow our blogs. We want you to keep up that hope, that mental energy which is sometimes needed for our really serious cases, but also celebrate with us our many success stories. We will sometimes share our sadness when we lose one of “oldies”, and thrill you when we get a paralysed dog walking again. Unless you have personally felt the despair of finding out that your own young dog has just had a diagnosis of hip and/or elbow dysplasia you may not understand the joy when the vet says he no longer needs major surgery, or says, “he doesn’t seem quite as bad as I first thought – let’s wait another 6 months and assess him again.” Our clients sometimes go through an emotional roller-coaster, and we want you to be able to feel the same joy they feel when they realise that conservative treatment has worked the miracle they were praying for.

Our testimonials are real ones – if you come to Canine Therapies you can read some of them for yourself. I know there are thousands of dog lovers out there because I’ve met quite a lot of them! Even if they no longer have a dog I want people to enjoy reading our blogs about what is happening here at Canine Therapies, about our highs and lows, about some of our really silly moments, our funny clients, some of the daft things our dogs do and anything else which might just give you something to smile about. You might have come across a condition which we are struggling with, and can come up with a suggestion which helps, and believe me when I say we are always open to learning, and trying out new ideas.Whilst we have standard ways of doing things but sometimes we have to be quite innovative because no two dogs are alike, and perhaps your ideas could make all the difference.

Sooooo…………. Please get involved!

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