L-R: Eznat director Joe Bvumburai, Fit4Dogs founder Kirsty Skeates and Garness Jones agency surveyor Charles Parkinson
L-R: Eznat director Joe Bvumburai, Fit4Dogs founder Kirsty Skeates and Garness Jones agency surveyor Charles Parkinson
Richard Bell

Meet the swimming instructor behind East Yorkshire’s new hydrotherapy clinic for dogs

A former swimming instructor is setting up a new business offering hydrotherapy for dogs.

New Zealander Kirsty Skeates, who ran a swimming school in Bridlington, has decided to take the plunge with her new venture, Fit4Dogs.

Founded alongside husband Mike from Pontefract, the business will operate from Beckside Court in Beverley and offer access to a 6m-long hydro pool, state-of-the-art underwater treadmill and physiotherapy area.

Marine engineer Mike converted the unit, which previously served as storage space, while chartered surveyors Garness Jones helped with the lease and Hull architects Eznat secured change-of-use planning consent.

Kirsty’s border collie Tui, named after a species of bird found in New Zealand, has already experienced the facilities at Fit4Dogs, as have other pooches referred by local vets.

The business will officially launch later this month (October 20) with an open day to raise awareness of the benefits of canine hydrotherapy.

Kirsty said: “I built up more than 20 years’ experience as a swimming teacher with people. I came here from New Zealand about six years ago and ran my own swimming school in Bridlington.

“But I have always been involved with dogs and this is something I have always wanted to do. I love it.”

She continued: “The big thing for me is raising awareness of the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs. Arthritis is a problem for one in three dogs and the hydro pool is amazing for pain management.

“We also help dogs which are recovering from accidents or which have other medical conditions. We help a labrador who is very overweight and on medication costing £350 per month. The pool helps her build her muscles and reduces the need for the medication.”

Fit4Dogs’ purpose-built heated pool has jets for resistance swimming and its underwater treadmill can be used by dogs of all sizes. The company is also equipped to treat smaller animals, including cats and rabbits.

Kirsty added: “It’s a fun job. I have had a lot of interest from people want to work with us and I have a waiting list of clients for hydrotherapy. The owners can’t swim with their dogs but they do get a lot of enjoyment from watching.”

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