Alaska K9 Aquatics opened in March in a plaza on International Airport Road. It includes an 18-by-35-foot pool that’s about 4 feet deep for people looking to give their dogs swimming exercise. “A tired dog is a good dog,” says business owner Martina Richardson. She says the inspiration for the business came from her experience with her own dog. Lexi, an Australian shepherd, required a lot of activity. If she didn’t get it, the household had to deal with Lexi’s barking, chewing and general hyperactivity. “Every day we were trying to figure out different ways to help her expend that energy in positive ways,” she said. “I thought there’s got to be a better way.”
Martina and her husband, Bruce Richardson, invited some clients and their dogs to use the facility Tuesday, April 30, and allow me a chance to photograph the dogs from within the pool. Rose Munafo brought her two black Labrador retrievers, which never seemed to tire of going after tennis balls and rubber chickens. Jason Fry and Diana Clyne brought Sophia, a 2-year-old Saint Bernard. Martina says the big dog was hesitant to enter the water on her first visit. On Tuesday, her third visit, she seemed to be having a ball.
First-time clients must complete a half-hour orientation on using the ramp into the pool and to determine if their dog needs a life jacket. Either Martina or Bruce stays in the pool with the dogs during all visits. Owners are not allowed to enter the water. The Richardsons also try to be aware of dogs’ limitations due to injury and to communicate with veterinarians if necessary. Check the K9 Aquatics website for more information.