BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO – Shari Seymour always knew her passion for animals would one day help to improve their lives.
“I knew I loved animals when I was five and did my first oil painting, but it was when I was working in Ottawa when I was 17, part-time at an animal hospital that I realized that I wanted to do something more,” said Seymour, therapist and owner of Dog Paddle K9 Aquatics.
“I wanted to give back and give them something that wasn’t really in existence at that time and get into more of an ‘outside the box’ way of thinking and maybe physio.”
Seymour’s need to ensure the well-being of animals prompted her to open Dog Paddle K9 Aquatics three years ago – a pet therapy rehabilitation facility in Bowmanville, Ontario.
“This is the heart and soul of Shari and you know she’s put a lot of time and effort into it,” said Nancy Hutchinson, a client of Dog Paddle K9 Aquatics. “It’s helped a lot of dogs, senior dogs and dogs recovering from surgery.”
Seymour’s years of experience as a massage therapist has educated animal lovers around the world to apply safe and effective massage techniques, combined with the benefits of hydrotherapy to enhance the lives of their pets.
“Warm water swimming increases circulation, gets the muscle fibers to stretch out and the tendons and ligaments to relax more,” said Seymour. “Therefore, the joint capsule itself can move more and in a greater range of motion.”
The above-ground pool is a gentle, virtually chemical-free sanitizing system which keeps the water clean and clear. The water is heated to 90-degrees Fahrenheit to relax the muscles and promote healthy joints.
Dogs suffering from hip dysplasia, hip surgeries and knee surgeries are sent here for rehabilitation. Developing trust has been essential when Seymour works with these injured dogs.
“They have to have a good vibe with us and basically what happens is they end up having a good time and trusting what we’re doing,” she said. “We take our time with them, work at their pace and they get in the water with our encouragement.
“They tell me so much just by what their eyes say, what their facial expressions say and then of course what their body tells me. So it is very much a natural thing that I was born with.”