One dog owner is delighted to have been nominated for an award for her dedication to her beloved dog.
Fifteen people in Britain have been nominated for the award from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).
Pat Cleever, of North Wales, said that her dog, a German Shepherd called Nat, had always been ‘a bit clumsy’ and had always been reluctant to do any prolonged exercise.
Around six months ago, Nat had been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a fairly common health problem with German Shepherds. The condition was so bad that Mrs Cleever had considered having him put down.
Mrs Cleever said:
It was pretty grim and the vet said he had a really severe condition. At first I thought he was just being lazy because he used to lie down a lot. Then he started to limp and I could see that he was in considerable pain. The vet decided he could have a reprieve and recommended hydrotherapy. I didn’t know so much could be done.
Luckily, Mrs Cleever had dog insurance and the insurance policy covered alternative treatments, such as the recommended hydrotherapy treatment, to help him get back on his feet.
Mrs Cleever got in touch with North Wales Canine Hydrotherapy, which is based in Caernarfon and Abergele. The owners, Tony Roberts and his partner Pauline Beacham, said that Nat’s earlier symptoms were typical signs of a dog with hip problems. They helped to guide Nat and his owner through the hydrotherapy programme.
Mr Roberts, who has supervised approximately 7,000 dog hydrotherapy sessions, said:
A lot of owners make the mistake of thinking their dogs are just lazy but you don’t get lazy dogs, it’s the pain. It’s a low-impact exercise that works the legs and builds up the muscle mass around the hip the supports the joint. A minute of swimming is equivalent to a mile’s walk so in one session Nat will do the same amount of exercise as walking 10-11 miles.
Since starting the hydrotherapy sessions, which cost Mrs Cleever £18 per session, Mrs Cleever noted that Nat made an amazing recovery and even stopped limping. She added:
When he first came to the pool he was petrified of the water. It took him three sessions until he realised he could actually enjoy himself. He’s never played as much as this before, he’s more confident and has a much better quality of life altogether.