BELFAST, Northern Ireland, October 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Dog owners in the Omagh area - and indeed the North West of the island of Ireland - have a new tool at their disposal in the treatment of a range of canine health conditions ranging from obesity to serious joint problems, following the opening of this area's first ever canine hydrotherapy referral centre.
Local woman Claire Sharkey has taken the plunge, and a complete career change, and opened Paddling Pups, located on Omagh's Circular Road, with the aim of helping improve the lives of dogs and their owners across the district.
Mum of two and part-time musician Claire worked as a maths lecturer at South West College, but after her own pet pooch Snoopy ruptured her cruciate ligament, the seed of a business idea was planted in her head.
She had done some research into finding treatment for Snoopy which would be covered under her pet insurance, but found that although there were already a few pools around Northern Ireland, unfortunately she couldn't find a registered and qualified hydrotherapist to treat her under the insurance. Claire saw a gap in the market and decided to make a go of it.
Claire completed her training with Hawksmoor Hydrotherapy Centre in Warwickshire, who are the authors of the original Level 3 certificate for hydrotherapy in small animals. Claire, together with her husband Sean, a local contractor, managed the project from start to finish, which has resulted in a clean, professional look, befitting to any four-legged family member.
Hydrotherapy is a non weight-bearing, low or zero impact form of exercise that has numerous benefits for dogs; it can reduce pain, swelling and stiffness, improve fitness, muscle strength and joint mobilization, improve gait pattern and also reduce obesity. It's beneficial for dogs with a range of medical conditions from chronic inherited bone and joint conditions to acute injury.
Paddling Pups boasts a 4.5 x 2.5m indoor pool with water heated to around 30 degrees, adjustable anti-swim jets, a sand filter and non-slip walkways in and out of the pool. Dogs must be referred for treatment by a vet and upon arrival at Paddling Pups will receive a full health assessment before being showered and fitted with a life jacket. Supervised by Claire they then enter the pool where they can spend anything from a few short minutes up to 20 minutes - which can be equivalent to a much longer exercise session on dry land - before being showered again and then dried and ready for home! Sessions cost £30 and will be covered by many pet insurance companies.
Paddling Pups has already been welcomed by local vets and dog-lovers, and looks set to make a real difference in the lives of lots of local dogs.
SOURCE Paddling Pups