A new hydrotherapy centre for pups
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.