A new hy­drother­apy cen­tre for pups

Franklin County News - - BUSINESS - BRIAR HUB­BARD

Pukekohe’s Ann Bar­ring­ton-Pace swims with dogs for a liv­ing.

Set­ting up her busi­ness, Hy­droPet, was no easy feat. Her hus­band Keith spent nearly 1000 hours dig­ging a hole in the garage floor by hand, to ac­com­mo­date the pur­pose-built pool.

The com­pany opened at the end of March and now Ann is liv­ing her dream.

Her ca­nine hy­drother­apy re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre fo­cuses on the holis­tic treat­ment of a dog’s ail­ments, by swim­ming them in the heated pool.

‘‘It’s ben­e­fi­cial be­cause it’s non weight bear­ing, and it’s en­joy­able for the dog and it stim­u­lates the mind as well. Af­ter a ses­sion the dog is no­tice­ably in less pain and sleeps bet­ter. ’’There are some con­di­tions that you will never be able to elim­i­nate, but you can give the dog a bet­ter qual­ity of life,’’ she said. She added swim­ming was also great for work­ing dogs, dogs with en­ergy to burn, and as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for pup­pies.

Ann was a po­lice officer in the United King­dom, but she be­came ‘‘disheartened’’ with the job, and a friend, who owned a hy­drother­apy cen­tre, said she should start one too. ’’I never thought it was some­thing I would do, but once I started the train­ing, I re­alised I had quite a pas­sion for it. ’’In my days off I would travel across the coun­try on a five-hour drive and start my hy­drother­apy train­ing.’’

Once she was fully qual­i­fied, she and her fam­ily moved to New Zealand and pur­chased a home, and had her sights set on ren­o­vat­ing the kitchen. ‘‘We couldn’t start the pool straight away be­cause we didn’t have the fi­nances. I sort of let the dream go.’’

How­ever, she was of­fered a dis­count on a pool, and she men­tioned it to Keith. ‘‘He said what do you want, a kitchen or a hy­dro? And it had to be the hy­dro.’’

At this stage there are no reg­u­la­tory stan­dards for own­ing a ca­nine hy­drother­apy busi­ness, which Ann wants to change. She also hopes to grow her hy­drother­apy cen­tre into the best she can.

Every day Ann Bar­ring­ton-Pace slips into her pool to swim pooches.

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