Recently I took Guinness to Well-Dogs Hydrotherapy in Betley, Cheshire. He likes to swim in the lake but he would benefit much more from a proper swimming session in warm water.
Lorna who runs Well-Dogs is lovely and we have met quite a few times at Dig It and a lot of people recommend her.
We arrived 10 minutes early for our appointment, very excited, with me wearing my wet boots, board shorts, rash vest & t-shit, i.e. Kayaking gear!
As we got to the doorway Guinness freaked out a bit and refused to go in. Lorna explained that sometimes they think it is the vets due to the chemical smells and as Guinness has had a pretty rough time at the vets recently I’m not surprised the strange smells freaked him a bit.
After a few moments he walked into the room and we gave him time to walk around and explore. We showered his legs and put a lifting harness on him, the same type I have for him at home, and we were ready to go.
We grabbed a tennis ball and I tried walking Guinness into the pool down the ramp with Lorna in the water. Guinness wasn’t so sure and backed away. Now I know my dog, and I know he can swim, and I know that sometimes he needs a gentle nudge in the right direction, so for him it was best to use the harness to lift him and gently place him in the water in the direction of the ball. As soon as he was into the water he started paddling and set off swimming and picked up the ball. The tricky part was getting him to come back to the slope, instead of trying to climb out of the sides. The dogs need to be taught where the ramp is as they cannot see it. Lorna was very good and guided him in the right direction while I shouted him. After a few goes he had it sussed and was swimming out all on his own, picking up the ball and swimming back to the ramp!
We’d been there for about 10, 15 minutes and he was happily swimming to retrieve his ball. Hurrah.
I was taking Guinness just for fitness and Lorna told me about different exercises you can get them to do while swimming, such as leading them around in circles and making them swim for longer. For our first go it was best to build Guinness’ confidence and stamina so he just retrieved his ball.
It had felt like we had been there for ages and Guinness was happily panting away when Lorna said it was time to finish. We took him into a fenced off area for a shower and then he was able to walk around freely in this section while I got changed. We waved goodbye and that was it! Our first swimming lesson!
Well-Dogs facilities are top notch with separate entrance and exits and fenced areas. Although Lorna leaves 15 minutes between each appointment this allows dogs to be coming in while the previous dog and owner are still drying off.
The room is clean and roomy with a good sized pool and a nice sloping ramp into the water.
I can’t wait for our next visit! Plus next time I will get photos!
That’s so cool,and what a great place!
All my dogs also love it especially Tess who after a bad accident was no longer able to play ball or frisbie. She has bad arthritis but she is allowed to play frisbie in the pool and she LOVES it – drags me in as soon as we get out of the car. Her movement has also improved immensely. Our other dogs often join her one at a time including our 17 week old puppy and our blind 6 year old collie. This really is a fabulous place I have tried others before finding Well-dogs which were nice but not a patch on here. Can’t recommend highly enough !!!!!!!!!!