The Canine Fitness Centre Ltd. was created not only as the result of the legitimate and pressing need for specialized services in the field of canine physical therapy and rehabilitation, but also as a result of a personal story very close to our hearts. Jasper, a rambunctious chocolate lab belonging to Amalia’s son, Rod, suffered a very common but potentially crippling injury at the early age of 3 years. Jasper tore the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), also known as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), in his right knee while jumping off a low deck back in 2003, while living in the U.S. with Rod. Shortly after that, Jasper also suffered a complete tear of his left ACL. Following 3 surgeries which failed to return Jasper’s function to normal, he was brought to Alberta by Amalia to pursue future medical treatment. In a period of 16 months, Jasper underwent a total of 4 more surgeries in his knees. Throughout the post-operative period, it became clearly evident to Amalia that Jasper needed much more than anatomical reconstruction of his knees in order to return normalcy to his life. They proceeded to seek physical therapy services for their dog, and found Laurie Edge-Hughes, who was the only physiotherapist specialized in canine rehabilitation in Canada at the time. Laurie had been actively practicing in the canine field of physical therapy for 10 years at that point.
Throughout conversations during multiple physio sessions with Laurie, the concept of a stand-alone physical rehabilitation clinic for dogs was born. The Canine Fitness Centre was founded by Laurie, Amalia, and Manuel, Amalia’s husband, in 2003 and it opened in March of 2004. Fifteen years later, nearly 6,500 dogs have enjoyed the benefits of physical therapy since then. Jasper has now passed away , and his last 8 years of life were filled with happiness and lots of pain-free physical activity (swimming, hiking, running, retrieving sticks, etc). More importantly, Jasper became a true example of the profound difference that physical therapy and proper rehabilitation services delivered with expertise can bring to the life of one of our beloved canine companions.