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Pooches Make A Splash At Doggie Paddle

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Dog at Doggie Paddle

Dog at Doggie Paddle dries off post swim. Photo credit: Doggie Paddle

Portland is home to over 30 dog parks (the most in any large city in the United States) and nearly two-dozen pet massage therapists. So, of course, it makes sense there might be a few swimming pools completely devoted to dogs.

One of them is Doggie Paddle Canine Therapy Swimming and Exercise.

It is owned and operated by Julie A. Thomas, Ph.D.  She covers both fronts: Thomas is trained in Canine Water Therapy and is a certified Small Animal Massage Practitioner. She often incorporates maintenance and rehabilitation massage techniques into the water sessions. 

“After losing my beloved 13-year old Lab to cancer, I was eager to learn what methods were available to support animals, and their “parents” in similar situations,” says Thomas a life-long swimmer, swim coach, and animal lover. “One of my first, and still most profound experiences, was holding an aged, arthritic dog in the warm water. I felt him relax, as I held him next to my heart, and he floated effortlessly in the quiet pool. I knew that this was something that I wanted to share with others!"

Thomas says that swimming and exercise complement your dog's overall wellbeing and aid in maintaining its good health, regardless of your dog's age or size.

Benefits include improved circulation, mobility and range of motion. Swimming is a great way for overweight dogs to burn off calories and older dogs to relax tired muscles and arthritic joints. Thomas is even known to have group swims for events such as a pooch’s birthday party. Occasionally, a guide dog puppy club will bring some puppies for an evening of swim instruction and water orientation.

Pool at Doggie Paddle

Splashing in the pool at Doggie Paddle. Photo credit: Doggie Paddle

But the real focus here is on rehabilation. "70-percent of my clients are referred to me by vetnarians and vet hospitals," says Thomas. "I've had dogs as young as six months diagnosed with orthepedic issues. We can help an animal at any age." 

Doggie Paddle helps injured dogs recover, and provide over-active dogs with an entertaining and athletic outlet in an indoor 30-foot pool that is kept between 83-85 degrees. The water is specially filtered as to avoid the kind of chemicals, such as chlorine, that come with more human-friendly swimming pools.

And, yes, they can even teach your dog how to dog paddle.

How much more pet-friendly in Portland can you get?

Doggie Paddle Canine Therapeutic Swimming & Exercise, 9851 NE Vancouver Way (it is located inside Wet Dog Wellness/Everything Canine), 503-730-0310. Sessions range from 30-60 minutes/$30-$70. http://www.doggiepaddleswim.com


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