AP NEWS

R.A.W. offers wellness treatment, physical therapy for pets

March 1, 2017 GMT

Animals in North Georgia and the Chattanooga area are getting the full-scale treatment in recovery nowadays thanks the Regional Animal Wellness center in Ringgold, which offers physical therapy and exercise for pets recovering from injuries.

Regional Animal Wellness (R.A.W.) has been growing in popularity since it opened its doors in January 2016, due to numerous treatments it offers ailing animals.

Owner Jeannette Colombo says she fulfilled a life-long dream by opening the center last year. It specializes in exercise, agility, and therapy for dogs and horses.

"It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so my husband and I bought the building a few years ago and began renovating it," Colombo said. "We have a playroom, and an underwater treadmill room to help the animals build their muscles. ... It’s harder for them to walk through the water than through air."

Colombo, a licensed practitioner in both canine and equine rehabilitation, says R.A.W. isn’t limited to just helping injured or recovering pets.

"We’re not just a place for hurt animals," she said. "We’re here for agility animals, hunting animals, basically any dog with a job, like police K-9s. I would actually love to set up a practice ring for K-9 cops, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet. It’s something we’d love to do down the road."

R.A.W. offers treatment in orthopedic trauma, chronic pain, athletic conditioning, neurologic injuries, pre/post-operative treatment, nutritional support, underwater treadmill treatment, massage therapy,

acupressure, and microcurrent therapy.

All treatments are based on referrals from veterinarians.

"We have to have a veterinary referral," Colombo said. "The reasoning behind that is, I don’t diagnose. The vets diagnose the patients, and then we treat them. Also, we want to make sure every client is up to date on their shots and things like that. Once I get the referral, we schedule an appointment and go from there."

Colombo said she doesn’t have specific hours because she likes to stay open to the patient’s schedule.

"Some people work third shift, some work nine to five, so we try leave room to schedule for everybody," she said. "If the only day someone has available is on the weekend, we can try to treat them then."

Each day Colombo is joined at the facility by her three dogs, office manager Miah Emilia, assistant Ethel Riley, and newcomer Elwood Blues who’s "on a mission from God".

Colombo dedicates her work to the memory her Labrador Ready Jade and horse Cricket, both of whom passed away earlier this year.

"We lost two of our pets, one dog and one horse," Colombo said. "They were great animals and we really miss them."

More information about the facility and its services can be found online at regionalanimalwellness.com.