Pet Friend

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Emma's Swimming Lessons

Emma, 16 weeks old, had her first swimming lesson today with Jeffrey Flocker, a physical therapist in Gilbert, Arizona. He is a certified physical therapist for humans, but his client base is all-canine. Visit his website He began by treating his own family of Bull Mastiffs, and now he has a marvelous hydro training facility with all the tubs, elevator lifts, ramps, tables, pool and much more. In this Arizona environment, everything is peaceful with trees, grass and non-skid surfaces. Dogs and owners are comfortable year round.

Emma first was fitted with her floatation device. Once she was okay wearing the vest, then she was walked onto a platform over the edge of the pool. Jeffrey held her for comfort and safety.

The lift is easily lowered into the water free of any noise. As soon as Emma noticed the water level rising, Jeffrey stopped the lowering platform. Jeffrey got into the water, and gently nudged Emma into the pool.

Jeffrey and Karen introduced Sparkle, their 19 week old Bull Mastiff puppy, into the mix. Sparkle loves to swim and showed Emma how it was done. Emma took the hint. Emma began swimming like a professional. She swam toward the side of the pool, and Jeffrey gently held her tail. She wasn’t afraid, she was just uncertain.

Emma learned where the pool stairs were. That was one of the biggest lessons I wanted her to learn. Look for the stairs if you fall into a pool, water safety 101.

Emma swam to the lift under Jeffrey's guidance. She emerged damp and ready to go home.

Emma's first pool experience was a good one. She may never look at a swimming pool as the place to play, but she will know how to swim and get out of a pool, if ever she falls in. I will take Emma into the pool again with me this evening, just for a few minutes.

If you would like to read more about the benefits of hydrotherapy, check out these two sites:

Hydrotherapy is not just for dogs with problems, it is for dogs with strong muscles and healthy joints.

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