Our girl Benzi is 16.5 years old and in amazingly great health for her age. She was a sled dog before we adopted her and as you might imagine, very fit and active. But we have been watching her stamina and strength dwindle slowly over the years.
We walk her every day, but those walks have gotten shorter and shorter as her feet literally drag behind her and she simply can not go very far. With limited exercise options available, we thought we’d try swimming for therapy and fun. We found that there is a private pool for dogs not too far from us: Joyces Unsinkable Dogs and decided to give it a try.
Well Benzi must be feeling like a pampered princess! Coach Judi will tenderly carry her into the water that was pre-heated to over 90 degrees for her comfort. She will pet her and hold her between moments where Benzi is swimming around. And I must say as a proud mom that I think Benzi is a pretty swimmer – she takes long full strokes with no flailing or splashing!
Although she had been nervous during portions of the session, it was mostly due to being somewhere that is not familiar to her. At her stage in life, her home and routine are important to her. So we were not sure how to evaluate her initial session. That is…until we got home. Upon arrival back home I swear she was swaggering! Honestly barking proudly to tell her sister how cool she was. And standing taller, and definitely she spent much more time on her feet and engaged with family the rest of the day. Amazing!
We signed up for ten sessions going twice a week in hopes of building up some strength – sort of like starting at the gym. I am grateful to Judi for her coaching/handling skills – she gauges how much time Benzi should swim vs sit on her lap for a rest, helps ensure that she feels secure and safe in the water, and offers me lots of tips for her health and well-being.
Because our other dog Turk is enrolled in a K9 Nosework class, I feel like “summer camp mom” and could not be enjoying it more! Truly it feels like these activities are beneficial to the pups and fun for me to watch them enjoy and grow from their respective activities.
Happy Fall everyone! Laura