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There’s now a spot for dogs to receive water therapy, get comfortable swimming or simply enjoy a heated pool while the lake’s too cold in the winter.
Watson’s Hound Lounge, a central Kelowna dog daycare, has officially opened their canine pool, the first of its kind in the city.
It’s a project that founder and owner Laura Vigar has been working on for well over a year, researching canine pools all over North America and consulting with canine water therapists.
While Watson’s is truly going public with the pool now, they’ve been doing swims for just over a month and Vigar says the response has been incredible.
“We’ve had a really positive response,” she told KelownaNow. “It’s been really rewarding to see the dogs really enjoy it and the owners that have dogs that need exercise and can’t typically get out or use a daycare setting be able to have another resource for their dogs to be able to exercise and get healthy.”
The heated indoor pool is 12 ft wide, 22 ft long and four ft deep with a custom made ramp up to and into the pool to accommodate dogs with any range of mobility.
Swims are always supervised and there’s a variety of different types of swims and reasons for the dogs to jump in the pool.
It can simply be recreational, dogs can use the service to learn how to swim, and it’s great for senior pooches with mobility issues, overweight dogs to shed some pounds and post-surgical recovery.
Watson’s assistant manager, Kelsey Denboer has been handling most of the swims since the daycare’s soft launch of the pool in August.
While there’s already a number of positives to come from the first month of swims, one involving a blind and deaf 15-year-old Chihuahua sticks out to Denboer as one of her favourite success stories.
She says the dog, named Minnie, doesn’t walk or move around lots when she comes to daycare, instead choosing to find a quiet spot in the corner or sun to sleep away her day.
"I was really excited to swim with her because I knew that once I put a life jacket on her and put her in the water, all the pressure would be off of her arthritis,” explained Denboer, who added that she didn’t know what to expect since Chihuahuas aren’t typically big swimmers.
“But you could just tell she was really happy and she didn’t even want to get out of the water she just kept swimming around and around and around!”
There will surely be more stories like Minnie’s as the swims continue throughout the winter, something Vigar is excited to offer.
Vinny is splashing into the weekend! 💦💦💦 . Looks like the weather out there might be transitioning to... Dare I even say it?? 🍂🍁 But good news, our pool is open all year round!! . #watsonswim #caninepool #whlswim #watsonshoundlounge #whldog #dogdaycare #dogsofkelowna #instadog #dog #kelownadogs #kelowna #kelownabusiness -K
As the weather and the lake get colder, dogs will still be able to go for a dip in the heated pool at Watson's, even on a -10°C day in December.
While owners won’t be able to see those swims in person, they can watch their four-legged friends’ session on webcam in the front lobby.
Charlie and I have been working together on being confident in the water. His first swims were more floats while I held onto him, next he swam if I was in the water with him. Today was a special day! He wouldn't stop diving in all by himself! . I got a bit emotional, but he couldn't tell.. I passed it off as just some water splashes under my eyes 🤗💙 . #proudswimcoach #watsonswim #caninepool #whlswim #watsonshoundlounge #whldog #dogdaycare #dogsofkelowna #instadog #dog #kelownadogs #kelowna #kelownabusiness -K
Swimming is just the newest endeavour for Watson’s, which is in its fifth year of business in Kelowna at 185-1855 Kirschner Rd.
The daycare offers Monday through Saturday service, 5,200 square feet of space and webcams that clients can login to and check on their pups during the day.
They’re also introducing a new monthly pass on Oct. 1 that will offer big savings for those needing frequent daycare service.
You can find out more about that, Watson’s other rates and more about the daycare by clicking this link.
A 15-minute swim will cost $12.90 for dogs that are in daycare that day and $14.90 for drop-ins.