By Amy Roberts
Long referred to as “Bark City” by locals, Park City is no stranger to some rather unique dog-related businesses. Here, you can drop Fido oﬀ at daycare, take Fluﬀy to the spa for a blueberry facial and even buy Rover organic raw elk meet for dinner.
So it’s little surprise when a new business aimed at the canine clientele opens its doors. But even by our already high standards, Park City’s newest pet profession is really making a splash.
Located in lower Pinebrook, The Dog Dive opened in December 2015. It oﬀers four options for private canine swim sessions — the Aquassage, AquaFitness and Self Swims and recreational swim. They also oﬀ er canine massage therapy out of the pool.
“The majority of clients are coming in for Aquassage,” explained owner Angela Dirkers. “These are dogs who are recovering from a recent surgery, are plagued by chronic pain, are geriatric and need impact free exercise…dogs that have some sort of ailment going on. The Aquassage sessions are one on one and assisted. We customize it based on each dog’s story, so no two sessions are the same. We combine swimming with massage therapy, stretching, resistance…all in the warm water. Th e results that dogs are having in here are inspiring and amazing.”
Angela, who had always planned to be a veterinarian, switched gears towards animal wellness aft er a 10-year career in human massage therapy. Aft er completing her veterinary school pre-requisites and gaining certifications in both canine massage and aqua therapy, she focused on creating Dog Dive in order to help dogs in need return to their active, happy lives.
“This definitely isn’t the next new hippie trend. Warm-water swim has actually been around for decades. It’s been used on performance animals, like race horses and greyhounds, and throughout Europe and Canada for many years. It helps with pain relief, recovery and allows these animals to maintain their strength and athleticism. Now, it’s becoming accessible for companion animals. I am proud to say we are the first facility of our kind in Utah!”
The more Angela learned about warm water swim, the more she considered it as a new career path. She went through an extensive training program in Washington state, where she learned from the movement’s founder. So it’s safe to say, she was trained by the industry’s “top dog.”
The Dog Dive features a 10 x 20 pool, heated between 85 and 90 degrees. Angela doesn’t use chlorine, she uses a mixture of UV light, hydrogen peroxide and other organic compounds to oxidize and sanitize the pool water.
Even better, owners can get in the pool with their dogs if they choose. And, when you make an appointment, the pool is reserved solely for you and your pooch.
“The ambiance within our facility is that of a spa for people. Dim lighting, soft music, lit candles, quiet, warm and inviting space that is totally private and reserved just for you. There’s a complimentary tea bar for guests to enjoy, and a human massage studio and lounge in the back.”
Angela stresses the notion that your dog does not need to love water in order for these sessions to be beneficial. “It’s so important for dog owners to understand that their pet’s discomfort with water should never stop you from coming in, especially for the purpose of wellness. Some of our most successful canine clients are those that started oﬀ not liking water. Th is is not the local pond with dozens of dogs running around, this is a spa setting in a controlled and calm environment, with heated, soothing water. We build trust with the dog, and give them the leadership that they need so they can successfully overcome their fear or lack of confidence. Th en, true healing from the inside-out can take place, and these dogs can thrive.”