MONTANA WATER DOGS
I opened Montana Water Dogs in Missoula, Montana in July of 2003. It was the first business in Montana to offer water therapy for our canine companions. Dr. Patti Prato, Four Paws Veterinary Clinic, recommended water therapy for my dog, Maui, after Maui had knee surgery. The closest facility at that time was Seattle, WA. I researched the possibilities of starting water therapy in Montana—not only for Maui, but for all dogs in need of this type of therapy. I received training at the North Carolina Canine Center, and have been a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals for 15 years. I graduated from the University of Montana, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, but helping animals has been my lifelong passion.
I know that dogs with many different needs can benefit from water therapy. Before and after surgery, water therapy allows the muscles and joints to move freely without the stress of all their body weight. The cardiovascular system is strengthened and circulation improves. Water therapy helps dogs with arthritis, dysplasia, and spinal injuries.
Dogs become calmer, healthier and happier, they are challenged both physically and mentally. It is exciting to see the changes. Some clients no longer need to have their dogs on pain medication. My own dogs benefit tremendously by being able to swim on a regular basis.
My 8 x 15 foot pool is kept between 82-86 degrees—warm enough to allow the patients’ muscles to relax—cool enough for younger, fit dogs to swim without overheating. Overweight dogs can also benefit from having a non-weight bearing activity that doesn’t put stress on their joints.
I require that my canine clients are given permission for water therapy by their veterinarian. When you and your dog arrive at Montana Water Dogs, you'll notice immediately that the atmosphere is calm and positive. I'll evaluate your dog, and after a quick rinse in the shower, I'll fit a life vest to your dog. Once in the pool, the session begins, but if I notice anything unusual, we'll talk about it. After the session, your pet is given a quick bath. If necessary, I can incorporate a lift table for entry/exit into the pool, for the ease of less mobile canines.
The possibilities are endless - I have treated dogs with paralysis and have been able to see them recover, thrive and lead quality lives due to water therapy. I have worked with dogs with immune disorders, post-operative loss of functionality, and general weakness, and according to their owners, water therapy was a huge part of their recovery. Most dogs do respond favorably, but at the very least, enjoy the experience, and find it cathartic. Montana Water Dogs is a safe environment—a place where dogs can recover and heal properly.