Therapy Stories –

Stories and Testimonials from some of La Paw Spa’s friends and clients.

From Carol Gurney, internationally known and loved animal communicator and
author of “The Language of Animals”:

How can I begin to describe the love and utmost respect that I feel for
Cindy and what her life’s purpose is. She is so true to her animal friends. I
think the world of Cindy and her connection with the animals…

Banjo’s Heart

My husband Lars had never had a dog of his own. When he decided that he was ready, we went to the Humane Society to pick out his first dog. Lars picked Banjo, a wild, completely uncontrollable boy who had been at the Humane Society on and off since the age of 5 weeks. He was now a 1 1/2 year old and had been returned 4 times in that year and a half. His time was running out. Banjo …

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Sophie’s Story

Sophie came into our life ten years ago this past August. Our journey really began two years before that, in August 2005. On the day that Hurricane Katrina made its’ horrific landfall in Louisiana, our vet and her assistant arrived at our home to euthanize our beautiful Mexican rescue dog, Victoria. Little did we know that two years later we would meet and fall in love with another amazing dog who would ultimately be diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.

Guido – Water Therapy for Degenerative Myelopathy

Living with Degenerative Mylopethy Guido was always an active dog. One of his self-appointed “jobs” was to herd our first Corgi, Vera, as she chased the tennis ball in our back yard. It was a job he took seriously and performed vigorously, often to Vera’s annoyance. American/Canadian Ch. Caralon Brookehaven Hearthrob (Ch Brookehaven Pfeif and Drum X Ch Caralon’s Lana Lee), but to us a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named “Guido”, came to us after a successful show and agility career, …

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Trooper’s Story

Trooper’s Storyby Carol Swindaman I work at Redwood Animal Hospital in Redmond WA. Anyone who works at an animal hospital knows that there is always an opportunity to adopt a new pet due to a variety of circumstances. In the fall of 2000, Trooper came to us by way of Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal rescue group based in Sultan, Washington. He was taken from a high kill shelter where he was certain to die. He was very thin and …

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Zion – Aquatic Therapy for Degenerative Myelopathy

My beautiful boy dog, Zion, had Degenerative Myelopathy of the German Shepherd Dog (DM is a progressive disease that gradually paralyzes the dog). Zion’s physical deterioration was heartbreaking, but taking him to La Paw Spa was like taking a trip back in time to Warm Springs in the days of Polio. Zion loved the warm water, it helped him to feel better and he had the freedom to swim even after his rear legs were numb and unresponsive on land. He simply glowed …

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Toby – Warm Water Therapy Helps Canine Growing Pains

Toby, my Bernese Mountain dog, was in constant pain and limping extensively from the time that he was about 4 months old. After spending $1200. at Pullman’s vet school, we left with no definite diagnosis, just possible tendons that were too tight. We have never known exactly what it is, but after seeing Cindy, he has turned into a happy bouncy boy. No more Rimadyl or pain killers anymore. Now he can jump in and out of cars, and she keeps him …

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Teddy – Swim Therapy Helps Dog to Walk Again

Teddy is a little better. His legs are still very weak, but today he was able to walk in the park for the first time. I’ll say one thing–he really loves his water workouts! He looks so happy and relaxed when he returns from La Paw Spa, and he’s also very happy after going in the tub. He follows me around afterwards wherever I go and gives me these deep soulful looks. Thanks again for teaching me about the benefits …

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Shane – Swimming Helps Keep this Dog out of Surgery

Thank you so much for seeing Shane. You’ve helped him a lot, but also you’ve helped me. When Shane was first diagnosed it was very difficult for me to accept. I didn’t want him to be limited in any way, and in many ways ~I~ didn’t want to have to limit him either. Just going, talking to you and such has helped me see that it’s really not a big deal. His needs have changed but he’s still a happy, …

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Enya – Swimming rebuilds gait in show dog

There is no way we can thank you enough for all you have done for Enya! She wouldn’t be half-way back if it wasn’t for your swimming therapy and massages! It is no small part you played in her getting muscled back up to where she is today! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

Dick – Swim Therapy for Geriatric Care

My dog Dick, a Shepherd Mix, is 10 years old. His back end is, of course, getting weaker with age. Although he’s a good swimmer, it’s difficult to find the perfect place and situation to make that happen.When I started with Cindy my intent was prevention. To keep him moving and try and stave off the inevitable weakening as long as possible. What I didn’t realize is that along with the desired result of helping Dick would come a wonderful …

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Gabriel – Water Massage for Canine Athlete

My golden retriever, Gabriel, can be pretty hyper and intense, so it’s amazing to see him literally melt in Cindy’s arms as she works her magic touch. However, it isn’t just Cindy’s expert ability to work with Gabriel’s oh-so-tight muscles that impresses me. She also has a wonderfully fine attunement to Gabriel, sensing the very fine nuances of his emotions and behavior. This understanding helps guide her as she works with him, eliciting the very best results. And Gabriel absolutely …

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BB – Water Therapy for Degenerative Myelopathy

My Pug BB is 15 years old and suffers from a degenerative neurological condition that has caused weakness in her rear legs. As a result she has great difficulty in walking. BB has been coming to La Paw Spa weekly for almost 2 years, and the swimming and massage work that Cindy does with her has made a significant difference in her leg strength. After her spa session, her legs are noticeably stronger and more flexible. At first I didn’t …

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Lexi – Aquatic Massage and Swimming

Lexi is a 5-year-old German Shepherd, who has been coming to see Cindy since July of 2002. Lexi has always had sensitivity issues with her tail/rear end. Since the pool therapy, Lexi is no longer tail/rear sensitive. Her whole demeanour towards other dogs has vastly improved!!! I am sorry we didn’t come to see Cindy sooner!!!!

Annie – Canine Rehabilitation for ACL repair

Finding Cindy Horsfall and her unique warm-water-spa-swimming-massage ministry for dogs has meant that our Annie went from a 3-legged canine to walking AND running again … using all 4 legs! Annie is a darling Husky/German Shepherd mix who had developed arthritis in both hind legs. ACL replacement surgery in one leg had helped some, but the other one was getting noticeably worse with rapidly progressing, rather severe arthritis. Aspirin and glucosamine helped some, but vets and canine surgeons could offer …

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Otto – Warm Water Helps Arthritis and Pain

Our experiences at La Paw Spa were truly enlightening. Otto, our 14 year old, arthritic lab-mix had developed stiffness and discomfort in his hips and paws. In our attempt to help relieve his pain we sought out Cindy at La Paw Spa since we had read about the healing effects of hydrotherapy for dogs. Our initial visit was filled with wonder and amazement. Otto, who throughout his entire life maintained a very reserved, “don’t touch me” disposition with all strangers, …

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Jake – Aquatic Treatments for Geriatric Care

The effort of caring for a geriatric dog can be emotionally and physically exhausting. To have this unique place to bring your dog, this oasis in the week, where you can see your dog’s eyes light up as they swim in the pool with Cindy, where you can laugh for a few moments and be rewarded for work of caring with this big smile on your dog’s face is truly a wonderful experience.

Brodie – Teaching a dog to swim

We all know that bulldogs sink like stones… the question was when Sandy brought Brodie to the spa is can a bulldog learn to swim? To everyone’s surprise, Brodie fetches tennis balls in the pool and swims like an Olympic athelete! We’re all amazed at his swimming style and passion for the water. Brodie now not only swims on his own but retrieves tennis balls! You can see our surprise when he snatched his first tennis ball from the water!. …

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Max – Swimming Helps Injury Repair

Before I met Cindy Horsfall, I was at the end of my emotional rope. My precious two-year old Golden Retriever, Max, has suffered an injury to his right hind leg (both bones broken, spiral fractures, etc.). After three surgeries over a four-month period, and complications caused by a systemic bacterial infection, Max had gotten very used to not using his atrophied injured leg. We tried the underwater treadmill, but Max still could not be persuaded to use the bad leg. …

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Cardiff – Surgical Recovery with Water Therapy –

I don’t even know where to begin…..I am in awe of how I’ve seen Cindy expand upon her vision this past year! What started as a dream, and a valuable one, has developed into a well sought after level of experience from canine lovers across the nation. To think of warm water canine therapy, you have to think of its pioneer… Cindy Horsfall. She not only assists those stepping into this business but continues to practice her devotion in the …

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Drifter’s Experience

This is Cindy Horsfall’s interpretation of a dog named Drifter. This interpretation is of Drifter’s first Experience with a canine water therapy program that specializes in physical therapy but has little regard for the emotional safety or spirit of the dog and their guardian… followed by his experience with a therapist who comes from a more heart centered program. My Person is taking me somewhere… We go to a place that specializes in swim therapy for dogs who need to …

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Dugan – Water Therapy for Paralysis

I sought out canine water therapy for my paralyzed 11 year old pug. In the end, it was hard to say which of us benefited more. Dugan had lost the ability to walk due to a degenerative nerve disease. My hope was that the warm water therapy would help him keep some muscle tone, encourage his failing circulation, and provide him with a sense of movement and relaxation. Pugs are not exactly water dogs, and Dugan himself was a bit …

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Owen – Swimming for Canine Conditioning

Carrie and Owen came in to swim for conditioning purposes only – to build up Owen’s stamina and body so that his muscles would ripple in the show ring and it worked great!!! They earned their CHAMPIONSHIP and we are SO PROUD of both of them! More Happy Therapy Stories

Kate – Swimming Helps Rehabilitate Hip Dysplasia

To all interested in our experience at La Paw Spa: We have a 13 month old Golden Retriever, Kate. When she was about 8-9 months old we found out she has bilateral hip dysphasia. We were devastated until we learned that there were many surgeries and treatments available. The first surgeon we went to wanted to do surgery on BOTH hips at the same time. We didn’t like this option as one hip was much better than the other, and …

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By the Rivers of Babylon

Zion, a beautiful German Shepherd, has Degenerative Myelopathy.. and a family who loves him greatly. My sister’s beautiful boy dog, Zion, has DM. Zion’s deterioration is heartbreaking, but Janet meets it with a fortitude I do not possess. Instead, I deal with the grief in the only way I can — I’m a writer, I write. The following story was written as a Beauty and the Beast TV fanfic. For those unfamiliar with fandom, the writer takes the world and …

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Lucy – Swimming Helps Rehabilitate ACL Repair

At the center of my family is a wonderful beagle named Lucy. Lucy had the perfect beagle’s life running and sniffing, playing and with our kids, and being spoiled by our family. About two years ago she required ACL surgery and seemed to be recovering until she was attacked by a large dog that passed through our yard. Months after the attack, Lucy stopped improving; in fact she seemed to be regressing. She was no longer able to use any …

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In Memory Of Tuggy

Tuggy was Cindy’s boy… He entered the scene like a whirlwind and brought immeasurable joy to her life for over 10 years. He brought gentle lessons for Cindy in the areas of boundaries, discernment and the proper way to laugh and play. The poem below was written by Janet, a client of La Paw Spa and a dear friend of Cindy’s, to honor Tuggy’s life. In Praise of Tuggy Oh you are so Bold a DogLook at You!!!You fly across …

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Tex – Rebuilding Gait with Swim Therapy

I just wanted to send you some feedback on Tex. It seems you and Martha have introduced me to a whole new area of care/rehab for the fur kids, and Tex continues to be the master teacher. Even my husband noticed a difference in Tex yesterday. Here is a brief overview of what I can see: As long as I have owned Tex, trotting has not been easy for him, and has not be his gait of choice. Early attempts …

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Biz – Aquatic Massage for Fascia Release

Our day begins in October of 2005. It was a lovely fall morning of running and playing at the local Junior High school football field. By the end of that walk, a new journey would begin. This journey would take time, love, patience, and a true belief in another human being with an incredible ability to heal. Biz is my 5-year-old Schipperke. He is a playful Zen dog with a lighthearted approach to the world so when he wanted to …

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Maggie – Aquatic Therapy Helps Rehabilitate FCE Dog

A Broken Angel Heals – Maggie’s Story In the last 2 1/2 years I have become the caregiver of a beautiful, partially paralyzed, yellow lab girl named Maggie. While she was previously owned by my neighbors she had been struck with a condition called Fibro cartilaginous Embolism (FCE) – pretty much a stroke in the spine. My neighbors did their best in caring for her for 6 months however it became more demanding for them with a baby on the …

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Sarah – A New Definition of “Canine Water Therapy”

by Cindy Horsfall La Paw Spa Today was one of those good days, the kind that makes you glad to be alive. It began when I met Sarah and ended as I drove home under a beautiful sunset sky that matched the warm glow inside of me. Sarah is a six-year-old lab who has had some spondylosis in her spine. She is a perfect candidate for water therapy and enjoyed her session today, but that’s just part of the story …

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Amber – Water Rehabilitation for Canine Geriatrics

I have had a very important job in my life. I have taken care of my family for 16 1/2 years. I became a service dog to better take care of my dad and was also schooled thru the “Wonder Dog” program where it was required from me to be very alert and self disciplined.My job has taken me on many journeys both far and wide. With my family I have been on many airplanes, taken a cruise and spent …

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Maggie – Water Therapy Helps Paralyzed Dog to Walk

The lovely Maggie suffers from a condition called Fibro Cartilaginous Embolism (FCE) – which basically means that Maggie had a stroke in her spine. Maggie lost use of her hind legs, bladder and bowels, which for a 55lb dog in this condition requires so much extra care. Her owners found her prognosis was not good and after finding out they were going to have a baby on top of the mounting vet bills, keeping Maggie was something they could no …

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Mica, Grace and Melody

I just wanted to pass along our incredible experience yesterday with Melody (who trained with you). Our 5-year-old border collie Mica, was rescued 4 years ago after having severe anxiety issues and the owners were going to euthanize him. We have worked extensively with Mica to help him overcome his fears and he has made such great progress! He sustained an ACL injury with the original owners, so our goal was to improve the strength and condition of the leg without surgery. That …

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Alex – Swimming for Geriatric Care

On a frosty winter morning thirteen years ago, my niece Jessica Abrams was on her way to Port Angeles High School. Stopped at an intersection, she saw a tiny white ball of fluff dart out from the side of the road and run under her truck, where he sat trembling. She got out, fished him out from under the truck and put him in the cab. The look on his face, she told me, said, “I am the King and …

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Lilly – Swim Therapy for Spinal Injury

Hi my name is Lilly. I am only 5 years old and I have arthritis so bad that I was loosing the use of my hind legs. One day I went out to play and was having so much fun I jumped in the air and when I came down I could only walk backward not forward. That really scared my family so they rushed me to the vet. That is where we got the bad news. The vet gave …

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Emmy – Swimming for Quality of Life

Life, love, loss, and getting skunked with the best friend a man ever had by Hal Everett Emmy entered my life in 1998, at six weeks of age. I bought her to be a fishing dog, who would accompany me on fly fishing trips, both local and distant. It was more than ironic that Emmy would later be the principal reason for me to give up fly fishing. She was bred from field trial lines, but the meaning of this …

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Ebony – Water Therapy for Strength Building

by Gigi Callaizakis – Sometimes when our canine companions get older and their abilities begin to become compromised, we need to seek solutions and to offer help. Here is one story of a woman and her dog – true and equal partners in this life – as they balance their relationship and each help each other to evolve during this process. I watch Ebony rest peacefully and I think back to her wilder younger years when I affectionately called her …

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Gracie – Swimming To Recovery

Courtesy of Therapy Dogs International By TDI Staff Imagine. You return from vacation, well-rested and missing your dog who you had to regretfully leave behind at the kennel. You can’t wait to see the excitement on your pup’s face when you pick her up, and you’re already thinking about a long walk as soon as you get home. But as you greet the kennel workers, something feels wrong; they stare at you nervously. “Hello, Mrs. Harris,” they say, trying not to panic, …

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Oakley – Running and Playing After Paralysis

We adopted Oakley in March of 2006 when he was 2 years old. He had been listed in a Seattle area newspaper as being for sale by an individual who had a pair of breeding Berners and learned that Berners are hard to breed. A family member of a local breed enthusiast purchased him in a side of the road parking lot for cash. It was shared that Oakley, whose name at that time was Okie, had originally come from …

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KT – Canine Geriatric Care

KT comes weekly to La Paw Spa for stretches and gentle swimming to help keep the circulation in her body flowing and her body limber. The warm waters of the spa, the weightless of the water and the massage while suspended and held has been very beneficial for KT. In this photo, KT celebrates her 19th birthday!

Raiden – Water Therapy is Great for Growing Puppies

Raiden is 5 1/2 months old now and she has been swimming since 8 weeks of age and is LOVING it!! Originally I had started swimming for socializing her to water…it is such a safe and nurturing environment and very positive. Unlike tossing her into a river or lake and encouraging her back. Tried that with my last dog and didn’t work so well! I definitely don’t recommend it. So when Radien was 10 weeks old she had a sick …

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Mattie – Hydrotherapy for a Ruptured Disc

We were driving through Minnesota on our way back from Washington, September 2002, and I saw a sign for AKC Springer pups. We decided that since it was two years since we had lost our last Springer, it was time to look again. We got the pick of the litter but they were only 6 weeks old so we had to drive 1000 miles back for her when she was 8 weeks old. We picked her up in our RV …

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Whoa Stop! Hey! Come back Charlie!

HEY! STOP! COME BACK CHARLIE !!! The sounds of someone on the move…. these words are music to any health care provider’s ears when they have been caring for someone who is challenged in their mobility. I had been working with Charlie for about 3 weeks when he arrived in my back parking lot and apparently had ‘gotten away’ from his person and was ambling across the field in back… just the week prior, Charlie was completely paralyzed in his …

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Noseworks Is Great For Geriatric And Special Needs Dogs

Congratulations to Batman Batman is nearly 15 and achieved his nose works one title in June 2011 and was the 3rd oldest dog to achieve that title in the USA! Congratulations Bosun Rambo! Bosun obtained his ORT title on wheels – April 23rd, 2011 Read about Bosun in the Peninsula Daily News! Watch Bosun’s Noseworks on Video! • We all love our instructor Karla Kimmey and she only starts 8 students every 8 weeks in Sequim/Port Angelescontact her for one of these openings: Phone:1-888-876-9364Outside US: …

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Katy – Swimming To Help Growth and Development of Puppies

Katy is great, thank you! I will attempt to explain what I noticed from our session with you…. I would say that she was more “grounded” that day.Which is a very huge shift in energy for a 16 week old puppy? Sure, she was a bit tired, but I feel energy in others very well and “grounded” is the best I can describe it….. I do love the idea of her building up that needed muscle with your therapy…She enjoyed …

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I DO – For better or for worse… till death do us part

When the premier pet magazine in India ‘Dogs and Pups’ asked me to write an article on Responsible Pet Parenting, the vows above came to mind. Taking on a pet is as serious as considering any other relationship in your life. For the short time that we walk this earth, I believe we should all strive to serve others and to do what we can to make the world a better place. Each of us has a unique journey here …

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Bosun – The Excitement of Nose Works

I never swam in a pool before

A Poem by Bailey May 2015 I never swam in a pool beforeThe day I walked through La Paw Spa’s door You greeted me with treats and a smileWe sat and we talked about things for awhile Then up the ramp we all did goWhat was ahead I did not know You let me run to calm me downI ran and ran and ran around When it was time to take a dipYou picked me up without a slip And …

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