Recently the Big Paw Pet Care team visited Rocky’s Retreat with Elsa, a 12-year-old German Shepherd owned by our professional dog trainer, John Standefer. Elsa was a very active dog in her early years but lately has lost a lot of muscle mass and is having a hard time standing or getting up into bed.
Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, co-owners of Rocky’s Retreat, welcomed us at the door. The lobby is warm and welcoming. You immediately feel as if you’re visiting a friend’s home. We took a short tour of the facility including therapy rooms for canine massage, aromatherapy and even a special room for humans too. (More on that later.)
We head outside to let Elsa explore the backyard, a quiet grassy oasis that doubles as play area for their doggie day care. Sherri describes Rocky’s Retreat Doggie Day Care as a relaxing and quiet alternative to high-energy chaos of larger dog day camps.
Soon its time for Elsa to experience what makes Rocky’s Retreat a truly amazing facility: Aqua Therapy.
Rocky’s Retreat houses Central Florida’s only warm-water indoor swimming pool specifically designed for canine water therapy. Aqua Therapy sessions are used to help rehabilitate dogs recovering from surgery, dogs with behavioral issues and even overweight dogs. The warm water and caring hands of Sherri and Toby also treat dogs like Elsa, who have experienced muscle loss due to age.
Elsa is a bit apprehensive prior to entering the pool. But Sherri is able to calm and control her, putting her at ease. Sherri slowly eases Elsa into the pool. After another short struggle, Elsa takes to the water like an Olympic champ.
Sherri guides Elsa through the length of the pool. Toby explains that they use various techniques to guide dogs through the water and shift their movement slightly to increase use of atrophied muscle or realign the dog’s gait in the case of an injury.
Elsa surprised all of us swimming for nearly an hour and still ready for more. She was ableto stand outside of the pool unassisted as she was dried off with some super cool towels that would put that Sham-wow guy out of business. Elsa was tired, but calm.
At the end of the session, we are lead to the quiet room just off to the side of the pool. There owners can completely dry their dogs in a comfortable room, away from the rest of the Retreat and it’s incoming clients.
We at Big Paw Pet Care are grateful for the time we were able to spend with Sherri and Toby at Rocky’s Retreat. And although she didn’t say so specifically, we’re pretty certain Elsa was grateful too. Because later that evening Elsa was able to climb into her favorite spot on the couch, something she has been unable to do unassisted in almost three years.
Rocky’s Retreat is a truly a special place for dogs and their owners. Speaking of special, they are offering a very special package just in time for Mother’s Day!
Now through May 19th you can purchase a “Mommie and Me” relaxation package with a massage or reflexology session for Mom and massage or swim session for her dog. Proceeds go to Women Playing for T.I.M.E. a volunteer organization that is dedicated to making a positive impact on women facing breast cancer.
If your dog has a few extra pounds to shed, is recovering from an injury, or is a senior dog that is finding it harder to get around – we highly recommend you contact Sherri and Toby to schedule a visit. For more information about Rocky’s Retreat visit them at www.rockysretreat.com and don’t forget to Like Rocky’s Retreat on Facebook.
Big Paw Pet Care is a proud partner of Rocky’s Retreat offering your dog shuttle service to and from scheduled appointments. Contact our office for more information about shuttle service.