La Paw Spa
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Help a canine friend who'd otherwise not be able to receive beneficial water therapy. Read more...

A Spa is Born 1 - A Glimmer in The Eye

When you go to a pool maintenance and supply company and talk about dogs, you might see the pool people clap their hands to their ears and run the other way mumbling strange sounds. Look around and you'll see swimming caps and various contraptions and devices to keep hair out of the pool.

Pools are NOT meant for hair - and dogs are full of hair.

Komondors, and almost all other dogs, are full of hair!

I owned my last pool and property for over 15 years and my closest friends knew how I cursed pool maintenance. They would be out to dinner and a movie and I'd be stuck home trying to get my flow restriction lights to turn back on. I hung lucky symbols and crystals in my pool equipment room in hopes for some help from beyond but nothing seemed to ease the work.

Being committed to safe water that is as alive and healthy as possible, I refused to use the standard chemicals and instead had every other option in the book working for me...which of course meant even more work as it is a constant dance to achieve the perfect balance in my goal to provide the most nurturing and safe experience for my beloved clients.

In 2002, I began to witness the growth of water therapy in the country and with this growth came a carelessness of style and a lack of standards in some programs. In my ultimate mission to help dogs and their people, I was drawn to start a National Association for the work (1) and my International Training program (2)... but first I had to eliminate something from my world in order to create space for the new...

It was a struggle to decide how to create space but I finally decided to sell my home and pool and take my business on the road and into other people's pools - and in doing this I eliminated pool maintenance and ownership from my life and freed up about 50% of my time. I walked away from pool maintenance and never looked back.

Well... until just recently....

In the last year, I had begun to miss the gentle skimming of my pool at night. The flicker of candlelight that danced across my pool's surface as I closed each days work with a meditation of thankfulness. I began to miss the opportunity to find time spontaneously for a dog who needed me, to be able to do therapy at any time for any dog. Last year I missed the opportunity to teach a woman from Europe who couldn't accommodate my teaching schedule and I found myself wishing I could do a custom class for her.

I started to wonder if I could do it again - but this time smarter.

And then came ..Morgan...and those big brown eyes of hers...

... those big brown eyes ...

When Morgan's Mom (who lived only 5 miles from me in Sequim) called me and told me that her sweet corgi had ruptured a disc in the lumbar spine and could I do anything for her, at that moment, with ALL Of my heart, I wanted a pool... and I needed one now.. in my home town.

When I went to see Morgan in her home for a land massage treatment, she rolled those big brown eyes up at me and I knew I was in trouble - and it was that day, with those thoughts in my head, that I drove by the most perfect commercial building for my new spa.

The Sequim location becons...

Over the last 15 years, I have become pretty good at knowing what is needed in a building and setting for this kind of work. This is the first in a series of articles going over why I jumped on this particular building and what things are important to support canine water therapy. I will also begin to share some of the nightmare stories attached to signing a long term lease and venturing into the world of county commercial zoning, codes, permits ... and of course all those surprised looks from the authorities who say "YOU DO WHAT ???"

To be continued ...

(1) Learn more about the Association of Canine Water Therapy
(2) Learn more about my Training Program