TWO former Royal Marines who suffered the pain of losing beloved dogs have set up a business offering canine hydrotherapy.

Jimmy Hill and Scott Candlish were dog handlers who were both badly injured in incidents which also claimed their companions.

Although they both still suffer from their injuries, they found hydrotherapy was a big help in their rehabilitation – and discovered it could help dogs too.

The pair have set up Pawseidon Canine Wellness in Poole, where they treat dogs in a five by four metre pool, or exercise them on a treadmill in a water tank.

Jimmy was serving in Afghanistan when he suffered six gunshot wounds to the leg in an attack which killed his dog Zero. His injuries caused the nerve condition foot drop, which left him unable to feel his lower left leg.

He said hydrotherapy helped him go from using a wheelchair to starting to walk on crutches. “It was non-weight bearing and it allowed me to move my legs with a better range of movement,” he said. “If you’re sitting in a wheelchair, the muscles just waste away.”

Scott was injured while on exercises with his dog Max. “I had to exit a helicopter quickly. Because the ground was so high, I had to cradle my dog. I hit the deck and broke discs in my back,” he said.

“You’re at the top of your game and then it stops and it’s the worst feeling in the world for guys like us. My dog developed a behavioural problem because he wasn’t like us, he couldn’t go to the gym.

“I got into a dark place and it was the same for my dog. A dog is used to being exercised, getting stimulation and interacting with people. Eventually we had to let him to and put him to sleep, which was the kindest thing for him.”

The pair say hydrotherapy is ideal for dogs recovering from injury or surgery, or suffering conditions such as rheumatism. The warm water gives them a chance to exercise without straining their joints.

Hydrotherapy can also be a preventative treatment – and is used on dogs whose owners are wary of them venturing into water.

Owners are asked to have their vet fill out a referral form before their dog has treatment.

The pair found kitted out a light industrial unit at Cabot Lane after a lengthy search for premises. “A lot of landlords didn’t like the idea of dogs or water,” said Jimmy.

The business has been going for around three weeks. Jimmy said: “It’s quite expensive to start up. With decent luck and our belief in it, I think we can make a success of it.”