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Former Royal Marines set up business helping injured dogs

16/06/20

Two former Royal Marines who suffered the pain of losing their beloved dogs have set up a business offering canine hydrotherapy with support from RMA – The Royal Marines Charity. 

James Hill was dog handler in Afghanistan, he was badly injured when he was shot six times in a fire fight. Tragically, that fateful night, he also lost his dog. Although he still suffers from his injuries, he found hydrotherapy was a big help to his rehabilitation. The shots that he received to the leg have left James with nerve damage that causes foot drop and no feeling. He said hydrotherapy helped him go from using a wheelchair to starting to walk on crutches. “It was non-weight bearing and it allowed me to move my legs with a better range of movement,” he said. “If you’re sitting in a wheelchair, the muscles just waste away.” 

James and his business partner conceived the idea for Pawseidon, a canine wellness and hydrotherapy centre, after both men had benefited from hydrotherapy themselves. The pair say hydrotherapy is ideal for dogs recovering from injury or surgery or suffering conditions such as rheumatism. The warm water gives them a chance to exercise without straining their joints. 

RMA – The Royal Marines Charity have supported their business venture through grants for qualifications and James attended a Business Set Up Workshop that the Charity organises. These workshops provide an all-inclusive guide to starting your own business. James said, “I could attend the workshop again and I'm sure that I would take away something new.” 

 This gave the pair the grounding they needed to get the idea off the ground, and despite facing difficulties in finding a premises and an insurer that was willing to facilitate a business that catered around water and animals they were able to find a property in Poole. They have been operating successfully for 7 months and their client base keeps growing, and their services expanding, they recently managed to get a lift fitted to allow disabled dogs to access the treatment rooms upstairs.  

James and his business partner say that the stress of immobility that they felt returning from war injured is the same for a dog.  

“You’re at the top of your game and then it stops and it’s the worst feeling in the world for guys like us. My dog developed a behavioural problem because he wasn’t like us, he couldn’t go to the gym.” 

RMA – The Royal Marines Charity are proud to have given James the skills and understanding he needed to not only follow a second career, but also use his experiences positively to alleviate the suffering of dogs.  

 

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