After working with people as a physical therapist for more than 25 years, Stacy Upton decided to make a change.
These days, Upton works with a new kind of client - the four-legged kind.
Upton had seen one of her hunting dogs struggle to cope with the loss of its mobility and decided to use her skills to help other dogs facing the same kinds of issues.
In 2013, Upton went back to school, attending classes at the University of Tennessee to gain her certification as a canine rehabilitation practitioner. After first offering her services through a veterinarian in Whitefish, Upton opened Canine in Motion on Nucleus Avenue in Columbia Falls more than two years ago, where she continues to offer her services today.
It was a decision she says she has never regretted.
“There are injuries that used to be the end of the road for dogs that today, with surgery and rehab, can be fixed. It can be very gratifying to be a part of that process,” she said. “I don’t want to put an exact number on it, but proper physical therapy can extend a dog’s life by a year or more.”
Upton’s practice offers a number of therapy options for dogs dealing with issues from injury, surgery or loss of mobility due to age, including a variety of balance and exercise tools and even and underwater treadmill.
“I see a lot of rehab after injuries or surgery, but I probably see just as many dogs that are getting old and are losing their mobility and independence,” Upton said. “I see incredibly dedicated owners that want to provide their pets with the best quality of life available and I want to help provide that.”