Dogs take the plunge and learn new skills thanks to hydrotherapist's life-saving lessons

A canine hydrotherapist who has helped improve the quality of life of many dogs has spoken of her love for her new career.

Canine hydrotherapist Marianne Edwards working with Rue
Canine hydrotherapist Marianne Edwards working with Rue

When Marianne Edwards's dog, Bear, was diagnosed with elbow and hip dysplasia, she took him to hydrotherapy sessions and saw her dog begin to thrive.

The former dog walker then had an idea: to set up Cannock Canine Hydrotherapy to care for dogs whose health and wellbeing would benefit from swimming sessions.

Despite being affected by the pandemic, Mrs Edwards's business has boomed, and she has several customers who have finished their initial rehab but can't shake the swimming habit.

The 50-year-old from Hednesford said: "Swimming is great for these dogs because it's non-impact so there's no pressure on the joints, unlike land-based exercise where any impact will ricochet through their joints.

"It builds muscle and the hydrostatic pressure forces the water to reduce swelling and inflammation."

Marianne quickly saw the benefits with Bear and decided to do a hydrotherapy course in 2019 while her husband Andy did the building work for the 5 x 3 metre pool at the bottom of their garden.

Mrs Edwards said: "I've had dogs come who have finished their rehab but still come back because they really enjoy it.

"I've had a dog start hydrotherapy using three legs after an operation while we held up the fourth, and finish the therapy using four legs.

"We have a little Jack Russell called Cassie who's crazy for swimming; her owners can't even say my name now because she'll start barking with excitement.

"And we have Poppy, a German Shepherd who had a deformity on her front leg - she's since had an operation and a cage on her leg.

"Now she loves to swim, it's her favourite part of the day. She's highly-strung so it really stimulates her mentally and physically."

Canine hydrotherapist Marianne Edwards working with Poppy

Marianne's lessons even helped save one dog's life. She said: "Buster is a Miniature Schnauzer and his mom has a canal boat.

"Not all dogs can swim so she brought him to lessons so he could learn. Now Buster can swim, and although he doesn't like it, it meant when he got into trouble and fell into the canal, he managed to swim to the side to get out."

The business was set to open in 2020 but was delayed in the pandemic, opening on January 25, 2021 - Marianne's late mother's birthday.

Marianne said: "The business is lovely because last year I lost my mom and dad eight weeks apart. I opened the centre on my mom's birthday so it's lovely to have it up and running."

As well as Bear the Newfoundland, Marianne has a 12-month-old German Shepherd named Boris - named after Boris Johnson as the new addition to the family arrived in lockdown.

All dogs must have vet referrals before booking a session. For more information, go to cannockcaninehydrotherapy.com/.

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