It’s a swimming pool where the doggy paddle is compulsory.
Dalton mother-of-three Victoria Bowden is helping to keep pet pooches fit and healthy – and in the swim – at House of Hounds Hydroptherapy.
A former dance studio at Nortonthorpe Mills in Scissett has been kitted out with a heated chlorinated swimming pool for use by dogs that been referred by vets for rehabilitation following an operation, to relieve painful conditions or to help improve their fitness.
Victoria also works with physiotherapist Lisa Emerson, who works with dogs that don’t like the water as well as having her own physiotherapy business for horses and riders.
Victoria, who has a degree in criminal justice and worked as a civil servant, said: “I have dogs myself – two chihuahuas and a Staffie – and I was interested in looking for another career. I wanted to work with animals and I stumbled across hydrotherapy for dogs.
“I did my training in hydrotherapy for small animals in September in Suffolk and I am registered with the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists, but it took me quite a while to find suitable premises.”
She said: “The unit was a former dance studio and it was one huge room. I have had walls put in, a shower and toilet, kitchen facilities and reception as well as the pool.
“There’s also a second room where I hope to expand into ‘party parlour’ for dogs and puppy socialising classes next year. I have had all the doorways widened for wheelchair access for disabled owners who cannot fully exercise their dogs.
Victoria, who is holding an open evening at House of Hounds next Wednesday (Dec 6), said hydrotherapy was helpful for dogs recovering from an operation or injury or suffering from conditions such as obesity, arthritis and cruciate ligament damage by enabling them to exercise without putting strain on their joints.
Said Victoria: “We only accept vet referrals. We get lots of working dogs and dogs that take part in agility competitions. We take large dogs as well, such as labradors. One lady brought her Bernese Mountain dog for a swim.”