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New local business helps dogs swim their way to better health

'Five minutes swimming is equivalent to a 20-minute walk, so they do get the exercise that way and it's lighter on their limbs for rehabilitation,' says co-owner

A new local business hopes to help dogs swim their way to strength and better health.

Located at 9 Ontario St. in Orillia, Puddle Paws Hydrotherapy uses swimming — a lower-impact exercise than walking or running — to help dogs with a variety of ailments, injuries, or excess energy get the exercise they need.

“Hydrotherapy is a way for (dogs) to rehabilitate their limbs …if they’re recovering from a surgery, or they just get strengthened from an injury, or even just exercise,” co-owner Billie Streeter told OrilliaMatters.

“Five minutes swimming is equivalent to a 20-minute walk, so they do get the exercise that way and it’s lighter on their limbs for rehabilitation because all their body weight is not on it.

“Any dog who’s gone through an injury, (or) has arthritis, or reoccurring things like that can benefit greatly from it.”

The business sports two swimming pools to help dogs of different sizes and ranges of mobility, with the smaller of the two equipped with a harness to help dogs with more severe conditions.

“I love dogs. We don’t deserve them, to be honest,” Streeter said. “This half-hour, an hour, every couple of days makes a difference in their life and gives them a chance to have a longer life span because they can gain that muscle strength back, or they’re not in pain for that amount of time.”

Run and built by Billie and her brother, Randy Streeter, Puddle Paws opened its doors in November after two years of planning, research and certification as canine hydrotherapists.

The idea arose when a family dog began struggling with severe arthritis but still enjoyed swimming at the family cottage through the summer.

“She’s a bigger dog. She’s not very old, but we take her for a longer walk and she’s down and out for the rest of the day,” Streeter said. “My mom just happened to mention it would be great if there was somewhere we could take her to swim.”

An idea was born.

“She absolutely loves to be in the water because it’s lighter for her, and I just kind of went from there and researched it. Next thing I know, I’m getting certified to do it,” she said.

For some dogs, Randy noted, hydrotherapy can be the difference between being able to walk or not, and it’s a great way for otherwise healthy dogs to burn excess energy.

“It allows them to not be in pain while they’re in there because none of their weight is on the injured leg or whatever it may be,” Billie added.

The cost is $125 for an hour in the pool, but there are other options, including New Year’s discounts until the end of the month.

Those interested in hydrotherapy for their dogs can learn more on the Puddle Paws website, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 249-388-3036.

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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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