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Devon canine hydrotherapy pool stars on ITV Show ‘Fat Pets’

PUBLISHED: 11:32 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:32 15 January 2015

Michael 7 year old St Bernard having Hydrotherapy with Duncan and Irenee

Michael 7 year old St Bernard having Hydrotherapy with Duncan and Irenee

Archant

After Retreat Canine Hydrotherapy featured on ITV show ‘Fat Pets’, Jazzmine Stacey went along to speak to the owner Duncan Croad

Manchee 4 year old springer, working his core muscle on the surf board.Manchee 4 year old springer, working his core muscle on the surf board.

The Retreat Canine Hydrotherapy pool in Devon has become a real hit, appearing on ITV’s show Fat Pets: Slimmer of the Year.

Duncan Croad, who owns the business, was contacted by ITV saying they wanted him and the pool to feature on a show about fat pets.

Duncan said yes and a few days later ITV contacted him again asking whether he had any overweight or obese pets as clients.

He didn’t, but took it upon himself to contact local vets to see whether they had any overweight dogs to come for a treatment session for the show.

The vets had two overweight canines from the same family which were able to come over for a session.

But only later did Duncan discover the first time he would see these dogs would be the day of filming.

He said: “When they turned up, I was quite surprised. One of them, Mya, was one of the biggest dogs I’ve seen. They are lovely dogs - their temperament is amazing. She is probably the biggest dog I have ever swam.”

Duncan treated one dog at a time starting with Mya. She was a little cautious but as soon as she got in the pool she was a good little swimmer. Wayne was completely different from his sister Mya as he was confident and just wanted to swim.

Stan a 3 month old German Shephard, who is learning to swim in his life jacket.Stan a 3 month old German Shephard, who is learning to swim in his life jacket.

Duncan became interested in the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs while recovering from a slipped disc in his back six years ago and unable to return to his desk job.

He became a volunteer at the Labrador Lifeline Trust and ended up coming away with Lulu, the first dog he had taken to hydrotherapy.

He said: “I thought to myself this would be amazing being in the water. I met this guy who was super fit, spending all day running around in circles. That’s got to be better than sitting around all day.”

Duncan studied hydrotherapy, passed his courses and start volunteering. Two months on he ended up having a part time job at a rehabilitation and hydrotherapy referral centre in Surrey.

Tizer 8 year old labradoodle, playing with his toy while having HydrotherapyTizer 8 year old labradoodle, playing with his toy while having Hydrotherapy

Three years ago he and his wife Helene moved to Devon and found a house on the edge of Dartmoor which had enough land for them to build a pool, so Duncan could start his own Canine Hydrotherapy Business.

They soon had clients coming in with their dogs for treatment, having been referred from local vets or hearing about them by other clients.

Since the ITV show they have had many more people interested in taking their dogs to have hydrotherapy. They have also given Mya and Wayne some free sessions as they want to help them out as much as they can.

Duncan said: “We are spoilt with our clients. They gave us Christmas presents, never expected really. The difference from this job to an office job or computer job is that it is very rewarding. It’s worth everything; there is no question in my mind that I would go back to anything else.”

Hamish a 18 month old German Pointer. Having Hydrotherapy after a road traffic accidentHamish a 18 month old German Pointer. Having Hydrotherapy after a road traffic accident

Duncan said: “Hydrotherapy has been shown to benefit many health conditions including: arthritis, obesity, soft tissue and spinal injuries and spondylitis.”

Find out more at the Retreat Canine Hydrotherapy website.

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