My Story

My Story

Tammy and her heart dog and inspiration Abby!

Tammy and her heart dog and inspiration Abby!

I have loved pets my whole life and they have always been part of our family growing up. From rabbits, birds, fish, cats, and of course our beloved dogs. Since 2002, we have been the proud owners of Abby, our chocolate Labrador and it was our journey with her that has inspired me to start “ Paws Swim Therapy .” In 2005, Abby tore her cruciate ligament in her left hind leg. It took 6 months to completely diagnose it and then after traditional cruciate surgery, we had no idea that the surgery had failed and that is why it took us 6 months to rehab her. We didn’t think she was ever going to fully weight bare on that leg again. Thankfully we found a dog breeder in Minesing who had set up a pool in his barn and he was swimming dogs. Faithfully, two times a week we made the trip for six months and after that one time a week until that pool closed down. Statistics say that if your dog has a cruciate injury chances are about 60% of the time the other side will tear too and if you have surgery it may increase to 70%. Well we thought that we were going to beat the statistics until December 2008. After Abby was playing with her dog friend we noticed lameness in her right hind leg. Panic set in and we thought “NO” she can’t handle another surgery. We rested her, used a sling to get her up and down and eliminated areas of the house where she could jump and go up or down stairs. After some research, we decided to buy a brace that was custom made to help support her when she did short walks. We were seeing progress with using the brace and then a set back happened and she ran after a squirrel creating a full tear. Muscle atrophy was evident in her right hind leg and we had concerns about the left hind leg becoming re-injured. So Spring of 2009 she had TTA surgery and back to the rehab and driving an hour and twenty minutes one way this time to Georgetown for hydrotherapy for our dear Abby. At that point, my dream was clear I had to set a hydrotherapy pool in Simcoe County which was the first in the fall of 2010 . I know what it is like when your dog is injured and they can’t walk. Your whole routine is thrown off when you are used to hiking everyday with your companion and now nothing. It upsets the entire family unit and emotions run high. I have been there and I understand what you are going through. I am not a veterinarian, what I am is a certified canine hydrotherapist with a passion for the wellness of dogs. Through my own personal experience and professional experience of over 300 dogs in my facility to date, I have learned a lot and I will continue to educate myself in this field. In August 2010 I received my certification in Canine Hydrotherapy under the wing of Alex Debolt, www.consultingdogs.com . I completed my course at Canine Water Wellness in Ottawa. I also became a member of the Association of Canine Water Therapy ( ACWT ). I have completed a course in Pet First Aid from Walk ‘n’ Wags too. I have taken canine nutrition courses and first aid homeopathy courses.

Tammy with Abby and Cash

Tammy with Abby and Cash

Abby was a Story Dog from 2007-2010 where she enjoyed going into a local school once a week so children could read to her. The Story Dog program was developed to help children gain confidence with reading.   Our family motto is what we do for ourselves we do for our pets. So chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, homeopathy , supplementation, good nutrition and exercise are important to all of us. Abby has been fed a species appropriate diet ( raw fed ) since she was 3 years old and she will be 14 in March 2016. We also have a naturally reared purebred black male Labrador Retriever, “ Cash“ and he turned 2 in November 2015. It is a pleasure to raise such a beautiful well balanced healthy dog who makes us laugh continually. We feel blessed being close to a provincial park where we go hiking almost daily, they enjoy camping and of course swimming. And at night they rest on their orthopedic beds or share ours!

I look forward to meeting you and your companion, we welcome all sizes and breeds to Paws Swim Therapy. For any questions please feel free to contact me at info@pawsswimtherapy.com.

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