Fat Dogs And Englishmen
Go Out To Swim
by Sherry Morse
A former First Division footballer has opened
a hydrotherapy spa in England for dogs in need of exercise.
The Four Paws Hydrotherapy Centre in Morpeth,
Northumberland, is owned by Craig Harrison, who played on
both the Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace soccer teams.
The center is designed to serve the needs
of canine clients who are overweight, or whose owners do not
have time to exercise them.
Harrison and Bell said they started the center
after they realized how much their own dogs loved playing
in the water, and saw a similar spa for dogs in Guildford.
According to Harrison, forty-five dogs come
to swim at the center each week, with dozens more on a waiting
"The response (to the center) has been
unbelievable," said his partner, Corinna Bell. "It's also
become the in-thing to take your dog swimming. So everyone
wants to keep up with the Joneses."
"Dogs are back in fashion, but people
no longer have time to walk a dog for an hour twice a day,"
Joan Guy of Blyth says she takes her Newfoundlands
Tide and Storm swimming in the center's pool, to tone them
"Tide is now better in the ring when
he performs at shows," she says. "He is bouncier. There is
a spring in his step."
The center is also popular with dog owners
who don't want their dogs to miss swimming because of cold
weather. One Jack Russell owner whose dog swims in a river
during the summer wants to bring her dog to the center so
he can swim all winter too.
According to Bell, for a dog, a minute in
the hydrotherapy pool is the equivalent of walking a mile.
A veterinarian is on site to monitor the dogs during their
half-hour hydrotherapy sessions at Four Paws.
© 2003 Animal News Center, Inc.