K9H2O

By nakedbarra | April 26, 2013

The first thing I noticed when I walked into K9H2O, was that Kendall doesn’t flinch when her clients do their famous get-the-water-off-me shake. Which makes sense, considering she’s been in the splash zone professionally for over 12 years.

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Kendall De Menech is a great person. She always has a smile on her face, always so cheerful. She’s the kind of person that will remember that you just got a new car, your daughter is having a baby, and of course, all about your animals. Seeing 50-80 animals a week, that’s a lot of animals to remember, yet she does it. Kendall started K9H2O over 12 years ago, after her wonderful yellow lab started suffering from Hip Dysplasia. The older she got, the heavier she got, which meant the less exercise she was able to do, which meant she suffered more. It’s a horrible cycle that many dogs go through. Kendall needed to do something, so after Sandy passed away, Kendall quit her swimming instructor job, talked to a supportive vet who was on board, and she started K9H2O. “Its passionate, fun, such a wonderful job, I have the best job on Earth” says Kendall.

         One of the first dogs at K9H2O was Ranger, a border collie/sheltie amputee. She had fallen out of a pick up truck, got hit by a car and dumped at the SPCA with gangrene. IMG_6767After her front leg was amputated, she came to Kendall, who taught her how to be a rescue dog. “Such a smart dog, her owners would have to stay in their pj’s until their appointment time, or else Ranger wouldn’t leave the cars side once they got dressed.” Kendall has only fired one dog, a Portuguese water dog. “When I was talking to her dad, the dog got annoyed with the lack of attention that I was giving her, so she jumped up and bit me right on the chest. Thankfully she didn’t break skin.” The only reason K9H2O didn’t keep her as a patient was because her parents wouldn’t muzzle her, and Kendall was sad to see her go.

Every animal, (yes, I keep saying animal on purpose) get their own 30 minutes to do whatever their parents have asked, which includes learning to swim (for all ages), pre and post surgery swim, injury swims, long jump, K9 life saving, boating etiquette, muscle building for show dogs, etc. Anything that has to do with animals in water, Kendall can do; As well as swim with different animals, like a mini-horse, goats, ferrets and mini pigs. Cats too, she’s had cats that are too fat to walk, come for a weight loss swim. Currently, she has a guinea pig that she’s using to help with therapy. He floats on the mat, away from the dogs, and motivates those dogs to swim. When asked what animals DON’T come for swims, that list was much shorter. Reptiles don’t swim, strictly because they can’t do the chlorine. She doesn’t take possums anymore, after Lily. This possum was hit by a car, and couldn’t move her right side. She was rescued and taken to Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center in Abbotsford, and Elizabeth brought her to Kendall. Well, the thing about Possums, they have poor eyesight and a sensitive nose that they keep to the floor, as well as poor hip joints and a fear of falling. When placed in water, they freeze up. Kendall ended up deck rehabilitating Lily, who learned to walk again, and now the possum stays at the wildlife horse-300x225foundation, and tours schools to show children that Possums aren’t scary.

            “There are so many fun aspects of my job, its hard to concentrate on the business side sometimes” says Kendall, “I’m not in this for the money; the passion from each success, seeing these animals get better, that’s what I’m in this for.” Kendall realizes she’s extremely lucky to have the exposure she has received; she’s been on TV & radio worldwide. People in Finland and Australia are talking about what a difference she’s made. Although she’s located in her Abbotsford home, clients come from all over to swim. Being the first Aqua Therapy clinic west of Ontario, its no surprise people come from not-so-local places, such as Prince George, Calgary, Whistler, Sechelt, Washington and Vancouver Island.

When asked about the worst thing about her job, Kendall acted like there are no un-favorable parts. When really pressed for an answer, the thing she came up with was “Putting on a wet, wetsuit! Oh, some scratches and bruises, but the worst is the wet wetsuit!” When asked about the positive things, Kendall lit up and said “Most of all, its fun!” When working with a new pet, she doesn’t worry about the medical injury right away; she works with the brain first. Many senior and disabled pets are depressed. When a dog is piggy2-300x225put on vet rest by the vet, it cannot understand why it is not allowed to play ball or go jogging with the owner like it used to before the injury. If Kendall can decrease the depression by working with the dog’s brain in the pool, then the dog will go home and sleep better, eat better and consequently heal better.

 I, personally, cannot wait to go back and spend some more time with Kendall at K9H2O. Kendall De Menech had a vision and achieved it, providing the largest and longest running dog swim pool in BC. She’s rehabilitated too many animals to count, has given confidence to those that had none, and helped owners get the most potential out of their animals.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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