By Leah Fox
A Santa’s grotto has opened its doors for Christmas – but it’s just for dogs.
K9 Swim dog hydrotherapy centre in Newton Heath, Manchester, is welcoming holly jolly hounds to meet Santa Claus and his elves over the Christmas period.
The unique grotto idea launched at the centre in 2016, making it a UK first, and aims to ensure furry family friends don’t miss out on some festive action.
Owner Marti Wood, 30, said: “A lot of people try to involve their pets during Christmas by buying gifts for them, so I think the dog grotto ties in with that.
“We just wanted to do something a bit different.
“We were unable to run it for a few years because we moved buildings, but we’re bringing it back this year because we got a lot of calls from customers asking about it.
“We’re very excited to have it back and have made the grotto from scratch and have gone with a Santa’s house theme.
“Santa gets very into it all – in 2016 a great dane came into the grotto and he said to the owner ‘wow I’ve got a reindeer smaller than that!’”
Each pampered pooch gets to meet Santa and his elves, who are armed with treats, for a photo opportunity, and will receive a present at the end.
When it’s not a festive paradise, K9 Swim offers hydrotherapy for fun, fitness, rehabilitation and weight loss, and helps many dogs that have been paralysed yet managed to get back on their feet using their resources.
Due to the immense response to Santa Paws, the centre are hiding twelve golden tickets in the gifts given out by Santa.
Prizes range from a free groom or swim session and, for one very lucky winner, an experience day in the pool shadowing one of their hydrotherapists.
Marti added: “Sometimes the owners are more excited than the dogs, especially if their children have all grown up or if they don’t have any, and treat their dog like it’s their child.”
The grotto is running throughout December, up until the last event which takes place on Christmas Eve.
It costs £10 per dog and more information can be found here: www.k9swim.com