A NEW centre offering innovate water therapies for dogs has opened with a splash on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The recent opening of the Wensleydale Dog Hydrotherapy Centre in Bellerby marked the culmination of years of hard work for smallholder Jemma Asher who first came up with the idea after finding a leaflet by chance.

Ms Asher, who has a bed and breakfast business on her Westfields Farm, came across a leaflet left by a guest advertising a dog hydrotherapy centre down south.

The leaflet got Ms Asher thinking and she formulated a plan to convert one of her buildings into a dog hydrotherapy centre to serve the Dales area.

Hydrotherapy is water-based treatment that can help dogs recover from injuries, help ease ageing joints, or simply provide safe a place for a dog to enjoy a swim or for puppies to learn confidence in the water.

With the help of funding from the Leader Project - a Government grant scheme for rural businesses - Ms Asher was able to set up her new venture and the Wensleydale Dog Hydrotherapy Centre is now up and running.

She said: "It's funny that the whole idea came from a leaflet - which I've kept.

"It would be quite interesting to contact the people who run that centre down south and tell them that they don't realise it, but they inspired me.

"That is where it all came from."

Ms Asher studied Equine Science at University in Gloucestershire which is where she first saw the benefits of hydrotherapy first-hand.

She said that the expense of setting up a centre for horses was beyond her means so she set about catering for dogs and qualified in 2016 as a Small Animal Hydrotherapist after training at the renowned Greyfriars Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy Referrals Centre in Surrey.

She now offers a range of treatments from the Wensleydale Centre from rehabilitation programmes, to fitness sessions and puppy swims.

Ms Asher said: "Hopefully I've found a gap in the market.

"There are a few animal hydrotherapy centres around, but they are all an hour or more drive away from here.

"It (hydrotherapy) is becoming more and more popular, possibly because more and more people have pet insurance now and you can claim for small treatment plans if there is something wrong with your dog, so it is becoming more available to people."