Shop Opening Hours:
9.00am - 7.00pm
Wed, 9.00am - 2.00pm
Fri, 9.00am - 6.00pm
Sat, 9.00am - 2.00pm
Talking with Sarah Mallett of Katie’s K9 Therapy Centre (14th June 2011)
Rochford Life: You aren’t Katie?
Sarah: No, Katie is my dog who needed hydrotherapy thirteen years ago so I set up my own business for her.
RL: And how long have you actually been here?
Sarah: We’ve been here seven years. We are a therapy centre for dogs that need rehabilitation for post-op or pre-op or alternatively for dogs that have arthritis, rheumatism, hip displacia, obesity, you name it. We work on a referral basis with all the vets in the area. We will only swim dogs that have been fully referred and are vaccinated.
RL: In the shop here you keep what?
Sarah: In the pet shop we can sell you anything to do with any pet. We don’t stock everything because we are limited for space and our main port of call is the hydrotherapy. We are a very busy local pet shop and we support the local community and we offer free delivery for orders over £10 for people who can’t manage to get to us. We sell bird food, bird feeders, all the pet products etc.
RL: You cater for the local community?
Sarah: People come to me from all over. We have people who come from Hornchurch, Chelmsford, Boreham, Colchester. There are local facilities for them in their local areas but most of those people lived here and moved away, but have been with me such a long time that they don’t want to go elsewhere. We are governed by the Canine Hydrotherapy Association so we have rules, regulations and guidelines that we must follow, and people like to come somewhere where there is that organisation governing us.
RL: I presume the length of time the dog swims is dependent on what it’s come in with?
Sarah: A dog comes in and they are assessed by myself. I am the head hydrotherapist. I have got two others who work for me. I have to set the programme and then we start with that. Every dog is different, every dog is an individual client and you have to assess their needs individually, so the programme is set for them and no one else. My oldest client at the moment is seventeen. He started with me when he was eight. He had an embolism at eight years old and wasn’t expected to live very long. That lady actually lives in Danbury and still comes to me once a week. Katie has been swimming for thirteen years now. She will be fourteen in September. She really shouldn’t still be alive but she is because of the hydrotherapy that she has three times a week. It keeps everything limbered up, and moving. It works on allowing the blood flow to circulate more naturally and it brings in a healing process.
RL: But how did this all start?
Sarah: We started up the Canine Hydrotherapy Association about eleven years ago because we wanted to make sure we had a governing body, so that people realised that we actually knew what we were doing. We’re not just somebody who picks a dog up and throws it in the swimming pool. We don’t work like that!
RL: So what started you off in it?
Sarah: There were a group of us who got together who were doing hydrotherapy and we decided that like any profession we needed a governing body. Originally I did it for my dog, Katie. I was in the Royal Veterinary Corps so I had a background in the army with dogs. It was just a passion of mime to get back into it, and I started doing the hydrotherapy for Katie. The Vets found out that I was doing it and heard of the success I was having with my dog and it just went from one extreme to the other.
RL: Thank you very much for that. That is fascinating.